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The Southern Hills and the South Sea 

They blow such gladness into me, 

That when I get to Burton Sands 

And smell the smell of the Home Lands, 

My heart is all renewed and fills 

With the Sovihern Sea and the South Hills. 



Bn& 3 will eing (Sol s ier ! 










My County, it has been proved in the life of 
every man that though his loves are human, 
and therefore changeable, yet in proportion as 
he attaches them to things unchangeable, so 
they mature and broaden. 

On this account, Dear Sussex, are those 
women chiefly dear to men who, as the seasons 
pass, do but continue to be more and more 
themselves, attain balance, and abandon or 
forget vicissitude. And on this account, 
Sussex, does a man love an old house, 
which was his father's, and on this account 
does a man come to love with all his heart, 
that part of earth which nourished his boy- 
hood. For it does not change, or if it changes, 


it changes very little, and he finds in it the 
character of enduring things. 

In this love he remains content until, per- 
haps, some sort of warning reaches him, that 
even his own County is approaching its doom. 
Then, believe me, Sussex, he is anxious in a 
very different way; he would, if he could, 
preserve his land in the flesh, and keep it 
there as it is, forever. But since he knows 
he cannot do that, ** at least," he says, " I 
will keep her image, and that shall remain." 
And as a man will paint with a peculiar passion 
a face which he is only permitted to see for a 
little time, so will one passionately set down 
one's own horizon and one's fields before they 
are forgotten and have become a different 
thing. Therefore it is that I have put down 
in writing what happened to me now so many 
years ago, when I met first one man and then 
another, and we four bound ourselves together 
and walked through all your land, Sussex, 
from end to end. For many years I have 
meant to write it down and have not; nor 
would I write it down now, or issue this 
book at all, Sussex, did I not know that 



you, who must like all created things decay, 
might with the rest of us be very near your 
ending. For I know very well in my mind 
that a day will come when the holy place 
shall perish and all the people of it and never 
more be what they were. But before that 
day comes, Sussex, may your earth cover me, 
and may some loud-voiced priest from Arundel, 
or Grinstead, or Crawley, or Storrington, but 
best of all from home, have sung Do Mi Fa 
Sol above my bones. 












Nine years ago, as I was sitting in the 
" George " at Robertsbridge, drinking that 
port of theirs and staring at the fire, there 
arose in me a multitude of thoughts through 
which at last came floating a vision of the 
woods of home and of another place — the lake 
where the Arun rises. 

And I said to myself, inside my own mind : 

" What are you doing ? You are upon 

some business that takes you far, not even 


for ambition or for adventure, but only to 
earn. And you will cross the sea and earn 
your money, and you will come back and 
spend more than you have earned. But all 
the while your life runs past you like a river, 
and the things that are of moment to men 
you do not heed at all." 

As I thought this kind of thing and still 
drank up that port, the woods that overhang 
the reaches of my river came back to me so 
clearly that for the sake of them, and to 
enjoy their beauty, I put my hand in front of 
my eyes, and I saw with every delicate appeal 
that one's own woods can offer, the steep 
bank over Stoke, the valley, the high ridge 
which hides a man from Arundel, and Arun 
turning and hurrying below. I smelt the 

Not ever, in a better time, when I had 
seen it of reality and before my own eyes 
living, had that good picture stood so plain ; 
and even the colours of it were more vivid 
than they commonly are in our English air ; 
but because it was a vision there was no 
sound, nor could I even hear the rustling of 



the leaves, though I saw the breeze gusty on 
the water-meadow banks, and ruffling up a 
force against the stream. 

Then I said to myself again : 

" What you are doing is not worth while, 
and nothing is worth while on this unhappy 
earth except the fulfilment of a man's desire. 
Consider how many years it is since you saw 
your home, and for how short a time, perhaps, 
its perfection will remain. Get up and go 
back to your own place if only for one day ; 
for you have this great chance that you are 
already upon the soil of your own county, 
and that Kent is a mile or two behind." 

As I said these things to myself I felt as 
that man felt of whom everybody has read in 
Homer with an answering heart: that "he 
longed as he journeyed to see once more the 
smoke going up from his own land, and after 
that to die." 

Then I hit the table there with my hand, 
and as though there were no duty nor no 
engagements in the world, and I spoke out 
loud (for I thought myself alone). I said • 

" I will go from this place to my home." 

(1,655) B 


When I had said this the deeper voice of 
an older man answered : 

" And since I am going to that same place, 
let us journey there together." 

I turned round, and I was angry, for there 
had been no one with me when I had entered 
upon this reverie, and I had thought myself 

I saw then, sitting beyond the table, a tall 
man and spare, well on in years, vigorous ; 
his eyes were deep set in his head; they 
were full of travel and of sadness; his hair 
was of the colour of steel ; it was curled and 
plentiful, and on his chin was a strong, full 
beard, as grey and stiff as the hair of his 

"I did not know that you were here," I 
said, "nor do I know how you came in, 
nor who you are; but if you wish to 
know what it was made me speak aloud 
although I thought myself alone, it was the 
memory of this county, on the edge of 
which I happen now to be by accident for 
one short hour, till a train shall take me out 
of it." 


Then he answered, in the same grave way 
that he had spoken before : 

*' For the matter of that it is my county 
also — and I heard you say more than that." 

" Yes, I said more than that, and since you 
heard me you know what I said. I said that 
all the world could be thrown over but that I 
would see my own land again, and tread my 
own county from here and from now, and 
since you have asked me what part especially, 
I will tell you. My part of Sussex is all that 
part from the valley of Arun, and up the 
Western Rother too, and so over the steep 
of the Downs to the Norewood, and the 
lonely place called No Man's Land." 

He said to me, nodding slowly : 

" I know these also," and then he went on. 
"A man is more himself if he is one of a 
number ; so let us take that road together, 
and, as we go, gather what company we can 

I was willing enough, for all companionship 
is good, but chance companionship is the best 
of all ; but I said to him, first : 

" If we are to be together for three days or 


four (since it will take us that at least to 
measure the whole length of Sussex), tell me 
your name, and I will tell you mine." 

He put on the little smile which is worn by 
men who have talked to very many different 
kinds of their fellows, and he said : 

" My name is of a sort that tells very little, 
and if I told it it would not be worth telling. 
What is your name ? " 

" My name," I said to him, " is of import- 
ance only to those who need to know it ; it 
might be of importance to my masters had I 
such, but I have none. It is not of import- 
ance to my equals. And since you will not 
tell me yours, and we must call each other 
something, I shall call you Grizzlebeard, 
which fixes you very well in my mind." 

"And what shall I call you," he said, 
*' during so short a journey ? " 

"You may call me Myself," I answered, 
" for that is the name I shall give to my own 
person and my own soul, as you will find 
when I first begin speaking of them as occa- 
sion serves." 

It was agreed thus between us that we 


should walk through the whole county to the 
place we knew, and recover, while yet they 
could be recovered, the principal joys of the 
soul, and gather, if we could gather it, some 
further company ; and it was agreed that, as 
our friendship was chance, so chance it should 
remain, and that these foolish titles should be 
enough for us to know each other by. 

When, therefore, we had made a kind of 
pact (but not before) I poured out a great 
deal of my port for him into a silver mug 
which he habitually kept in his pocket, and 
drinking the rest from my own glass, agreed 
with him that we would start the next day at 
dawn, with our faces westward along the 
Brightling road — that is, up into the woods 
and to the high sandy land from which first, a 
long way off, one sees the Downs. 

All this was on the evening of the 29th 
October in the year 1902 ; the air was sharp, 
but not frosty, and, outside, drove the last 
clouds of what had been for three days a 
great gale. 

Next morning, having slept profoundly, 
without giving a warning to any one who had 



engaged us or whom we had engaged, but 
cutting ourselves quite apart from care and 
from the world, we set out with our faces 
westward, to reach at last the valley of the 
Arun and the things we knew. 









There was still wind in the sky, and clouds 
shaped to it, and driving before it in the cold 
morning as we went up the lane by Scalands 
Gate and between the leafless woods ; and 
still the road rose until we came to Brightling 
village, and there we thought that we would 
step into the inn and breakfast, for we had 
walked four miles, and all that way up hill we 
had hardly said a word one to the other. 

But when we were come into the inn we 
found there a very jovial fellow with a sort of 
ready smile behind his face, and eyes that 
were direct and keen. But these eyes of his 


were veiled with the salt of the sea, and paler 
than the eyes of a landsman would have been ; 
for by the swing of his body as he sat there, 
and the ease of his limbs, he was a sailor. So 
much was very clear. Moreover, he had a 
sailor's cap on with a shiny peak, and his 
clothes were of the sailor's cut, and his 
boots were not laced but were pulled on, 
and showed no divisions anywhere. 

As we came in we greeted this man and he 
us. He asked us whence we had come ; we 
said from Robertsbridge ; he told us that for 
his part he had slept that night in the inn, 
and when he had had breakfast he was setting 
out again, and he asked us whither we were 
going. Then I said to him : 

"This older man and I have inclined our- 
selves to walk westward with no plan, until 
we come to the better parts of the county, 
that is, to Arun and to the land I know." 

The Sailor. " Why, that will suit me very 

Grizzlebeard. " How do you mean that 
will suit you very well ? " 

The Sailor. "Why, I mean that it is my 


intention also to walk westward, for I have 
money in my pocket, and I think it will last 
a few days." 

Myself. " Doubtless you have a ship in 
Portsmouth or in Southampton, which, if 
you come with us, you will join ? " 

The Sailor. " No, nor in Bosham either, of 
which the song says, * Bosham that is by 
Selsea.' There is no little ship waiting for 
me in Bosham harbour, but I shall fall upon 
my feet. So have I lived since I began this 
sort of life, and so I mean to end it." 

Grizzlebeard. " It will not end as you 

When I had asked for breakfast for us two 
as well as for him, I said to the Sailor, " If 
you are to walk with us, by what name shall 
we call you ? " 

" Why that," said the Sailor, '* will depend 
upon what name you bear yourselves." 

"Why," said I, "this older man here is 
called Grizzlebeard. It is not his family's 
name, but his own, and .as for myself, my 
name is Myself, and a good name too — the 
dearest sounding name in all the world." 


" Very well," said the Sailor, pulling his 
chair up to the table and pouring himself out 
a huge great bowl of tea, "then you may 
call me Sailor, which is the best name in the 
world, and suits me well enough I think, for 
I believe myself to be the master sailor of 
all sailors, and I have sailed upon all the 
seas of the world." 

Grizzlebeard. " I see that you will make 
a good companion." 

The Sailor. " Yes, for as long as I choose ; 
but you must not be surprised if I go off 
by this road or by that at any hour, without 
your leave or any other man's ; for so long as 
I have money in my pocket I am determined 
to see the world." 

Myself. " We are well met, Sailor, you and 
Grizzlebeard and I in this parish of Bright- 
ling, which, though it lies so far from the 
most and the best of our county, is in a way 
a shrine of it." 

Chizzlebeard. " This I never heard of 
Brightling, but of Hurstmonceaux." 

Myself. " There may be shrines and shrines 
on any land, and sanctities of many kinds. 


For you will notice, Grizzlebeard, or rather 
you should have noticed already, having lived 
so long, that good things do not jostle." 

The Sailor. " But why do you say this of 
Brightling ? Is it perhaps because of these 
great folds of woods which are now open to 
the autumn and make a harp to catch the 
wind ? Certainly if I'd woken here from 
illness or long sleep I should know by the 
air and by the trees in what land I was." 

Grizzlebeard. "No, he was thinking of 
the obelisk which draws eyes to itself from 
Sussex all around." 

Myself. "I was thinking of something far 
more worthy, and of the soul of a man. 
For do you not note the sign of this inn 
by which it is known?" 

The Sailor. "Why, it is called * The 
Fuller's Arms ' ; there being so many sheep 
I take it, and therefore so much wool and 
therefore fulling." 

Myself. "No, it is not called so for such 
a reason, but after the arms or the name of 
one Fuller, a squire of these parts, who had 
in him the Sussex heart and blood, as had 


Earl Godwin and others famous in history. 
And indeed this man Fuller deserves to be 
famous and to be called, so to speak, the 
very demigod of my county, for he spent 
all his money in a roaring way, and lived 
in his time like an immortal being conscious 
of what was worth man's while during his 
little passage through the daylight. I have 
heard it said that Fuller of Brightling, being 
made a Knight of the Shire for the County 
of Sussex in the time when King George 
the Third was upon the throne, had himself 
drawn to Westminster in a noble great 
coach, with six huge, hefty, and determined 
horses to draw it, but these were not of 
the Sussex breed, for there is none. And 

he " 

Grizzlebeard. "You say right that they 
were not ' Sussex horses,' for there are only 
two things in Sussex which Sussex deigns 
to give its name to, and the first is the 
spaniel, and the second is the sheep. Note 
you, many kingdoms and counties and lands 
are prodigal of their names, because their 
names are of little account and in no way 


sacred, so that one will give its name to a 
cheese and another to a horse, and another 
to some kind of ironwork or other, and 
another to clotted cream or to butter, and 
another to something ridiculous, as to a cat 
with no tail. But it is not so with Sussex, 
for our name is not a name to be used Uke 
a label and tied on to common things, seeing 
that we were the first place to be created 
when the world was made, and we shall 
certainly be the last to remain, regal and 
at ease when all the rest is very miserably 
perishing on the Day of Judgment by a 
horrible great rain of fire from Heaven. 
Which will fall, if I am not mistaken, upon 
the whole earth, and strike all round the 
edges of the county, consuming Tonbridge, 
and Appledore (but not Rye), and Horley, 
and Ockley, and Hazelmere, and very cer- 
tainly Petersfield and Havant, and there 
shall be an especial woe for Hayling Island ; 
but not one hair of the head of Sussex shall 
be singed, it has been so ordained from the 
beginning, and that in spite of Burwash and 
those who dwell therein." 


Myself. "Now you have stopped me ii 
the midst of what I was saying about Fuller, 
that noble great man sprung from this noble 
great land." 

The Sailor. "You left him going up to 
Westminster in a coach with six great horses, 
to sit in Parliament and be a Knight of the 

Myself. "That is so, and, God willing, as 
he went he sang the song ' Golier 1 Golier I ' 
and I make little doubt that until he came 
to the Marches of the county, and entered 
the barbarous places outside, great crowds 
gathered at his passage and cheered him as 
such a man should be cheered, for he was a 
most noble man, and very free with all good 
things. Nor did he know what lay before 
him, having knowledge of nothing so evil as 
Westminster, nor of anything so stuffy or so 
vile as her most detestable Commons House, 
where men sit palsied and glower, hating 
each other and themselves : but he knew 
nothing yet except broad Sussex. 

" Well then, when he had come to West- 
minster, very soon there was a day in which 



the Big-wigs would have a debate, all empty 
and worthless, upon Hot Air, or the value 
of nothingness ; and the man who took most 
money there out of the taxes, and his first 
cousin who sat opposite and to whom he 
had promised the next wad of public wealth, 
and his brother-in-law and his parasite and 
all the rest of the thieves had begun their 
pompous folly, when great Fuller arose in 
his place, full of the South, and said that 
he had not come to the Commons House 
to talk any such balderdash, or to hear it, 
but contrariwise proposed, then and there, 
to give them an Eulogy upon the County of 
Sussex, from which he had come and which 
was the captain ground and head county of 
the whole world. 

" This Eulogy he very promptly and power- 
fully began, using his voice as a healthy 
man should, who will drown all opposition 
and who can call a dog to heel from half a 
mile away. And indeed though a storm rose 
round him from all those lesser men, who 
had come to Westminster, not for the praise 
or honour of their land, but to fill their 

(1,655> „ 


pockets, he very manfully shouted and was 
heard above it all, so that the Sergeant-at- 
Arms grew sick with fear, and the Clerk at 
the Table wished he had never been born. 
But the Speaker, whose business it is to keep 
the place inane (I do not remember his name, 
for such men are not famous after death), 
stood up in his gown and called to Fuller 
that he was out of order. And since FuUei 
would not yield, every man in the House 
called out * Order ! ' eight or nine hundred 
times. But when they were exhausted, the 
great Fuller, Fuller of Brightling, cried out 
over them all : 

" ' Do you think I care for you, you 
insignificant little man in the wig? Take 
that!' And with these words he snapped 
his fingers in the face of the bunch of them, 
and walked out of the Commons House, and 
got into his great coach with its six powerful 
horses, and ordering their heads to be set 
southwards he at last regained his own land, 
where he was received as such a man should 
be, with bells ringing and guns firing, little 
boys cheering, and all ducks, hens, and 


pigs flying from before his approach to the 
left and to the right of the road. Ever 
since that day it has been held a singular 
honour and one surpassing all others to be 
a squire of Brightling, but no honour what- 
soever to be a member of the Commons 
House. He spent all his great fortune upon 
the poor of Sussex and of his own parish, 
bidding them drink deep and eat hearty as 
being habits the best preservative of life, 
until at last he also died. There is the 
story of FuUer of Brightling, and may we 
all deserve as well as he." 

The Sailor. " The great length of your 
story, Myself, has enabled me to make a 
very excellent breakfast, for which I shall 
pay, bidding you and Grizzlebeard pay each 
for your own, as is the custom of the parish 
where I was born, and one 1 hope you wiU 
admire while I still have cash, but forget 
when I have spent it. And if in talking so 
much you have eaten little, I cannot help it, 
but I must take the road." 

So saying the Sailor rose up and wiped 
his lips very carefully with his napkin, and 


put down a sum of money upon which he 
had agreed with the landlord, and we also 
paid for ourselves, and then we all three set 
out under the high morning for Heathfield, 
and were ready to talk of Jack Cade (who 
very nearly did for the rich, but who most 
unfortunately came by a knock on the head 
in these parts), when we perceived upon the 
road before us a lanky fellow, moving along 
in a manner quite particular to men of 
one sort throughout the world, men whose 
thoughts are always wool-gathering, and who 
seem to have no purpose, and yet in some 
way are by the charity of their fellows kept 
fed and clothed. 

"Mark you that man." said Grizzlebeard, 
" for I think we can make him of our company, 
and if I am not mistaken he shall add to it 
what you (speaking to the Sailor) and Myself 
there, and I also lack. For this morning has 
proved us all three to be cautious folk, men 
of close speech and affectation, knaves know- 
ing well our way about the world, and careful 
not to give away so much as our own names : 
skinflints paying each his own shot, and in 


many other ways fellows devoted to the Devil. 
But this man before us, if I mistake not, is of 
a kind much nearer God." 

As Grizzlebeard said this, we watched the 
man before us more closely, and we saw that 
as he walked his long Hmbs seemed to have 
loose joints, his arms dangled rather than 
swang, he steered no very straight course along 
the road, and under his felt hat with its narrow 
brim there hung tawny hair much too long, 
and in no way vigorous. His shirt was soft, 
grey and dirty, and of wool, and his collar made 
one with it, the roll of which just peeped 
above his throat, and his coat was of velveteen, 
like a keeper's, but he was not like a keeper 
in any other way, and no one would have 
trusted him with a gun. 

" Who knows but this thing may be an 
artist ? " said the Sailor in an awed voice to 
me, as we came nearer. 

Myself'. " I do not think so. An artist would 
not be so nonchalant. Even in youth their 
debts oppress them, and they make certain 
fixed and firm gestures, for they are men that 
work with their hands. But this thing is 


loose hung, and though I will make certain 
he has debts, I will be certain also that he 
cares nothing for them, and could not tell you 
their amount to within half of the true total." 

By this time, since we walked steadily, and 
he shambling, as I have said, we had nearly 
come up with him, and we heard him crooning 
to himself in a way that might have irritated 
any weary listener, for the notes of his hum- 
ming were not distinct at all, and he seemed 
to care little where the tune began or ended. 
Then we saw him stop suddenly, pull a pencil 
out of some pocket or other, and feel about in 
several more for paper as we supposed. 

" I am right," said Grizzlebeard in triumph. 
" He is a Poet ! " 

Hearing our voices for the first time the 
youth turned slowly round, and when we saw 
his eyes we knew indeed that Grizzlebeard 
was right. His eyes were arched and large 
as though in a perpetual surprise, and they 
were of a warm grey colour. They did not 
seem to see the things before them, but other 
things beyond ; and while the rest of his 
expression changed a little to greet us, his 


eyes did not change. Moreover they seemed 
continually sad. 

Before any of us could address this young 
man, he asked suddenly for a knife. 

" Do you think it safe to let him have one ? " 
said the Sailor to me. 

" It is to sharpen this pencil with," said the 
stranger, putting forth a stub of an H.B. 
much shorter than his thumb. He held it 
forward rather pitifully and uncertainly, with 
its blunt, broken point upwards. 

"You had better take this," said Grizzle- 
beard, handing him a pencil in better condi- 
tion. '* Have you no knife of your own ? " 

" I have lost it," said the other sadly. His 
voice was mournful as he said it, so I suppose 
it had been his friend. 

G^izzlebeard. " Well, take mine and write 
down quickly what you had to write, for such 
things I know by my own experience to be 

The stranger looked at him a moment and 
then said : 

" I have forgotten what I was going to say 
... I mean, to write." 


The Sailor (with a groan). " He has for- 
gotten his own name I " ( Then more loudly), 
" Poet I Let us call you Poet, and come your 
way with us. We will look after you, and in 
return you shall write us verse: bad verse, 
oughly verse into which a man may get his 
teeth. Not sloppy verse, not wasty, pappy 
verse ; not verse blanchified, but strong, heavy, 
brown, bad verse; made up and knotty; twisted 
verse of the fools. Such verse as versifiers 
write when they are moved to versifying by 
the deeper passions of other men, having 
themselves no facilities with the Muse." 

The Poet. " I do not understand you." 

But Grizzlebeard took his arm affec- 
tionately, as though he were his father, and 
said, "Come, these men are good-natured 
enough, but they have just had breakfast, and 
it is not yet noon, so they are in a hunting 
mood, and for lack of quarry hunt you. But 
you shall not reply to them. Only come 
westward with us and be our companion until 
we get to the place where the sun goes down, 
and discover what makes it so glorious." 

On hearing this the Poet was very pleased. 


He had long desired to find that place, and 
said that he had been walking towards it all 
his life. But he confessed to us a little shame- 
facedly that he had no money, except three 
shillings and a French penny, which last some 
one had given him out of charity, taking him 
for a beggar a little way out of Brightling 
that very day. 

" If, however," he said, " you are prepared 
to pay for me in all things no matter what I 
eat or drink or read or in any other way dis- 
port myself, why, I shall be very glad to drive 
that bargain with you." 

Myself. " Poet ! That shall be understood 
between us 1 And you shall order what you 
will. You shall not feel constrained. It is 
in the essence of good fellowship that the 
poor man should call for the wine, and the 
rich man should pay for it." 

" I am not a poor man," said the Poet in 
answer to me gently, " only I have forgotten 
where I left my money. I know I had three 
pounds yesterday, but I think I paid a sove- 
reign for a shilling beyond Brede, and, in 
Battle (it must have been) I forgot to pick 


up my change. As for the third pound it 
may turn up, but I have looked for it several 
times this morning, and I am beginning to 
fear that it is gone. . . . Now I remember it I " 

The Sailor. " What ? More luck ? Be cer- 
tain of this much I We will not turn back- 
wards for your one pound or for five of them." 

The Poet. "No, not that. When I said 
* I remember,' I meant something else. I 
meant the line I had in my head as you came 
along and changed my thoughts." 

The Sailor. " I do not want to hear it." 

The Poet. "It was, 

' I wonder if these little pointed hills ' . . ." 

Grizzlebeard. " Yes, and what afterwards ? " 

l^he Poet {a little pained). " Nothing, I am 

afraid." He waved his hands limply towards 

the north. " But you will perceive that the 

little hills are pointed hereabouts." 

The Sailor. " I never yet thanked my 
parents for anything in my life, but now I 
thank them for that which hitherto has most 
distressed me, that they set me to the hard 
calling of the sea. For if I had not been 


apprenticed, Bristol fashion, when I was a child 
to a surly beast from Holderness, I might have 
been a Poet, by the wrath of God." 

Grizzlebeard. " Do not listen to him, Poet, 
but see ! We have come into Heathfield. 
I think it is time either to eat or drink or 
do both, and to consider our companionship 
joined, and the first stage of our journey 
toward the West accomplished." 

Now in those days Heathfield was a good 
place for men, and will be again, for this 
land of Sussex orders all things towards itself, 
and will never long permit any degradation. 

So we sat down outside the village at the 
edge of a little copse, which was part of a 
rich man's park, and we looked northward 
to the hill of Mayfield, where St. Dunstan 
pulled the Devil by the nose ; and they 
keep the tongs wherewith he did it in May- 
field to this day. 

Now as the story of the way St. Dunstan 
pulled the Devil by the nose has, in the 
long process of a thousand years, grown 
corrupt, distorted, and very unworthily 
changed from its true original, and as it 


is a matter which every child should know 
and every grown man remember for the 
glory of religion and to the honour of this 
ancient land, I will set it down here before 
I forget it, and you shall read it or no, 
precisely as you choose. 

St. Dunstan, then, who was a Sussex man 
(for he was born a little this side of Ardingly, 
whatever false chroniclers may say against it, 
and was the son of Mr. Dunstan of the 
Leas, a very honest man), St. Dunstan, I 
say, having taken orders, which was his own 
look out, and no business of ours, very rapidly 
rose from sub-deacon to deacon, and from 
deacon to priest, and from priest to bishop, 
and would very certainly have risen to be 
pope in due time, had he not wisely pre- 
ferred to live in this dear county of his instead 
of wasting himself on foreigners. 

Of the many things he did I have no 
space to tell you (and as it is, my story is 
getting longer than I like — but no matter), 
but one chief thing he did, memorable beyond 
all others. Yes, more memorable even than 
the miracle whereby he caused a number of 


laymen to fall, to his vast amusement but to 
their discomfiture, through the rotten floor- 
ing of a barn. And this memorable thing 
was his pulling of the Devil by the nose. 

For you must know that the Devil, desir- 
ing to do some hurt to the people of Sussex, 
went about asking first one man, then another, 
who had the right of choice in it, and every 
one told him St. Dunstan. For he was their 
protector, as they knew, and that was why 
they sent the Devil to him, knowing very 
well that he would get the better of the 
Fiend, whom the men of Sussex properly 
defy and harass from that day to this, as 
you shall often find in the pages of this 

So the Devil went up into the Weald of 
a May morning when everything was pleasant 
to the eye and to the ear, and he found St. 
Dunstan sitting in Cuckfield at a table in 
the open air, and writing verse in Latin, 
which he very well knew how to do. Then 
said the Devil to St. Dunstan : " I have 
come to give you your choice how Sussex 
shall be destroyed, for you must know that 


I have the power and the patent to do this 
thing, and there is no gainsaying me, only 
it is granted to your people to know the 
way by which they should perish." 

And indeed this is the Devil's way, always 
to pretend that he is the master, though he 
very well knows in his black heart that he 
is nothing of the kind. 

Now St. Dunstan was not the fool he 
looked, in spite of his round face, and round 
tonsure, and round eyes, and he would have 
his sport with the Devil before he had done 
with him, so he answered civilly enough : — 

" Why, Devil, I think if we must all pass, 
it would be pleasanter to die by way of 
sea- water than any other, for out of the sea 
came our land, and so into the sea should 
it go again. Only I doubt your power to 
do it, for we are defended against the sea 
by these great hills called The Downs, which 
will take a woundy lot of cutting through." 

" Pooh 1 bah ! " said the Devil, rudely, in 
answer. " You do not know your man ! I 
will cut through those little things in a night 
and not feel it, seeing I am the father of 


contractors and the original master of over- 
seers and undertakers of great works: it is 
child's-play to me. It is a flea-bite, a summer 
night's business between sunset and dawn." 

" Why, then," said St. Dunstan, " here is 
the sun nearly set over Black Down, west- 
ward of us, so go to your work ; but if you 
have not done it by the time the cock crows 
over the Weald, you shall depart in God's 

Then the Devil, full of joy at having 
cheated St. Dunstan, as he thought, and 
at being thus able to ruin our land, which, 
if ever he could accomplish it, would involve 
the total destruction and efFacement of the 
whole world, flew off through the air south- 
wards, flapping his great wings. So that all 
the people of the Weald thought it was 
an aeroplane, of which instrument they are 
delighted observers ; and many came out to 
watch him as he flew, and some were ready 
to tell others what kind of aeroplane he was, 
and such like falsehoods. 

But no sooner was it dark than the Devil, 
getting a great spade sent him from his 


farm, set to work very manfully and strongly, 
digging up the Downs from the seaward side. 
And the sods flew and the great lumps of 
chalk he shovelled out left and right, so that 
it was a sight to see; and these falling all 
over the place, from the strong throwing of 
his spade, tumbled some of them upon Mount 
Caburn, and some of them upon Rackham 
Hill, and some here and some there, bu 
most of them upon Cissbury, and that i 
how those great mounds grew up, of which 
the learned talk so glibly, although they 
know nothing of the matter whatsoever 

The Devil dug and the Devil heaved until 
it struck midnight in Shoreham Church, and 
one o'clock and two o'clock and three o'clock 
again. And as he dug his great dyke drove; 
deeper and deeper into the Downs, so that it: 
was very near coming out on the Wealden 
side, and there were not more than two dozen 
spits to dig before the sea would come throuqh 
and drown us all. 

But St. Dunstan (who knew aU this), offer- 
ing up the prayer, Populiis Tuus Domine 
(which is the prayer of Nov. 8, Pp. alba 42, 


Double or quits), by the power of this prayer 
caused at that instant all the cocks that are 
in the Weald between the Western and the 
Eastern Rother, and from Ashdown right 
away to Harting Hill, and from Bodiam to 
Shillinglee, to wake up suddenly in defence 
of the good Christian people, and to haul those 
silly red-topped heads of theirs from under 
their left wings, and very broadly to crow 
altogether in chorus, so that such a noise was 
never heard before, nor will be heard thence 
afterwards forever ; and you would have 
thought it was a Christmas night instead of 
the turn of a May morning. 

The Devil, then, hearing this terrible great 
challenge of crowing from some million throats 
for seventy miles one way and twenty miles 
the other, stopped his digging in bewilder- 
ment, and striking his spade into the ground 
he hopped up on to the crest of the hill and 
looked in wonderment up the sky and down 
the sky over all the stars, wondering how it 
could be so near day. But in this foolish action 
he lost the time he needed. For even as he 
discovered what a cheat had been played upon 

(1,665) J) 


him, over away beyond Hawkhurst Ridge day 
dawned — and with a great howl the Devil was 
aware that his wager was lost. 

But he was firm on his right (for he loves 
strict dealing in oppression) and he flew away 
over the air this way and that, to find St. 
Dunstan, whom he came upon at last, not in 
Cuckfield but in May field. Though how the 
Holy Man got there in so short a time 1 
cannot tell. It is a mystery worthy of a great 

Anyhow, when the Devil got to Mayfield 
he asked where St. Dunstan was, and they 
told him he was saying Mass. So the Devil 
had to wait, pawing and chawing and whisk- 
ing his tail, until St. Dunstan would come 
out, which he did very leisurely and smiling, 
and asked the Devil how the devil he did, 
and why it was he had not finished that task 
of his. But the Devil, cutting him short, 

" I will have no monkishness, but my 

*' Why, how is that ? " said St. Dunstan in 
a pleased surprise. 


Then the Devil told him how the cocks 
had all begun crowing half-an-hour before the 
right time, and had unjustly deprived him of 
his reward. For the dyke (he said) was all but 
finished, and now stood there nearly through 
the Downs. And how it was a burning shame 
that such a trick should have been played, and 
how he verily believed there had been sharp 
practice in the matter, but how, notwithstand- 
ing, he would have his rights, for the law was 
on his side. 

Then St. Dunstan, scratching his chin with 
the forefinger of his left hand (which he was 
the better able to do, because he had not 
shaved that morning), said to the Devil in 
answer : 

" I perceive that there is here matter for 
argument. But do not let us debate it here. 
Come rather into my little workshop in the 
palace yonder, where I keep all my argu- 
ments, and there I will listen to you as your 
case deserves." 

So they went together towards the little 
workshop, St. Dunstan blithely as befits a 
holy man, but the Devil very grumpily and 


sourly. And there St. Dunstan gave the Devil 
a chair, and bade him talk away and present 
his case, while he himself would pass the time 
away at little tricks of smithying and orna- 
mentry, which were his delight. And so 
saying, St. Dunstan blew the bellows and 
heated the fire of his forge, and put his 
enamelling tongs therein, and listened while 
the Devil put before him his case, with argu- 
ments so cogent, precedents so numerous, 
statutes so clear, and order so lucid, as never 
yet were heard in any court, and would have 
made a lawyer dance for joy. And all the 
while St. Dunstan kept nodding gravely and 
saying : 

" Yes ! Yes I Proceed I . . . But I have 
an argument against all of this 1 " Until at 
last the Devil, stung by so simple a reply 
repeated, said : 

** Why, then, let us see your argument I 
For there is no argument or plea known or 
possible which can defeat my claim, or make 
me abandon it or compromise it in ever so 

But just as he said this St. Dunstan, pulling 


his tongs all hot from the forge fire, cried very 
suddenly and loudly : 

" Here is my argument ! " And with that 
he clapped the pincers sharply upon the Devil's 
nose, so that he danced and howled and began 
to curse in a very abominable fashion. 

" Come, now ! " said St. Dunstan. " Come I 
This yowling is no pleading, but blank ribaldry ! 
Will you not admit this argument of mine, and 
so withdraw from this Court non- suited ? " 

And as he said this he pulled the Devil 
briskly round and round the room, making 
him hop over tables and leap over chairs like 
a mountebank, and cursing the while with no 
set order of demurrer^ replevin, quo warranto, 
nisi prius, habeas corpus, and the rest, but 
in good round German, which is his native 
speech, and all the while St. Dunstan said : 

" Argue, brother ! Argue, learned counsel I 
Plead I All this is not to the issue before the 
Court ! Let it be yes or no I We must have 
particulars ! " And as he thus harangued the 
Devil in legal fashion, he still pulled him 
merrily round and round the room, taking 
full sport of him, until, at last, the Devil 


could stand no more, and so, when St. Dun- 
stan unclappered his cHppers, flew instantly 

And that is why the Devil does to this day 
feel so extraordinarily tender upon the subject 
of his nose ; and in proof of the whole story (if 
proof were needed of a matter which is in the 
Bollandists, and amply admitted of the Curia, 
the Propaganda, and whatever else you will), 
in proof of the whole story I say you have : — 
Imprimis, the Dyke itself, which is still called 
the Devil's Dyke, and which still stands there 
very neatly dug, almost to the crossing of the 
hills. Secundo, et valde fortior, in Mayfield, 
for any one to handle and to see, the very 
tongs wherewith the thing was done. 

And if you find the story long be certain 
that the Devil found it longer, for there is no 
tale in the world that can bore a man as fiercely 
as can hot iron. So back to Heathfield. 

Well, as we sat there in Heathfield, we 
debated between ourselves by which way we 
should go westward, for all this part of The 
County is a Jumbled Land. 


First, as in duty bound, we asked the Poet, 
because he was the last comer ; and we found 
that he could not make up his mind, and when 
we pressed him we found further that he did not 
know at all by what way a man might go west 
from these woods. But when he heard that 
if any one should go through Burgess Hill 
and Hayward's Heath he would be going 
through towns of the London sort, the Poet 
said that rather than do that he would leave 
our company. For he said that in such towns 
the more one worked the less one had, and 
that yet, if one did not work at all, one died. 
So all he had to say upon the matter was 
that whether we avoided such places by the 
north or by the south, it was all one to him ; 
but avoid them one way or another we must 
if we wished him to keep along with us. 

When the Poet had thus given his opinion, 
Grizzlebeard and 1 next put the question to 
the Sailor, who frowned and looked very wise 
for a little time, and then, taking out his pencil, 
asked the Poet to say again exactly what his 
objection was; which, as the Poet gave it 
him, he carefully wrote down on a piece of 


paper. And when he had done that, he 
very thoughtfully filled his pipe with tobacco, 
rolled the paper into a spill, set fire to it, and 
with it lit his pipe. When he had done all 
these things, he said he did not care how we 
went, so only that we got through the bad part 

He thought we might do it in the darkness. 
But I told him that the places would be full 
of policemen, who were paid to throw poor 
and wandering men into prison, especially by 
night. So he gave up the whole business. 

Then Grizzlebeard and I discussed how the 
thing should be done, and we decided that 
there was nothing for it but to go by the 
little lanes to Irkfield, particularly remember- 
ing " The Black Boy " where these little lanes 
began, and then, not sleeping at Irkfield, to 
go on through the darkness to Fletching, and 
so by more little lanes to Ardingly. In this 
way we who knew the county could be rid of 
the invaders, and creep round them to the 
north until we found ourselves in the forest. 

Having thus decided, we set out along that 
road in silence, but first we bought cold meat 


and bread to eat upon our way, and when we 
came to Irkfield it was evening. 

The wind had fallen. We had gone many- 
miles that day. We were fatigued ; and nothing 
but the fear of what lay before us prevented 
our sleeping in the place. For we feared that 
if we slept there we should next day shirk the 
length of the detour, and see those horrible 
places after all. But the Sailor asked sud- 
denly what money there was between us. 
He himself, he said, had more than one 
pound, and he put down on the table of the 
inn we halted in a sovereign and some shillings. 
I said that I had more than five, which was 
true, but I would not show it. Grizzlebeard 
said that what money he had was the business 
of no one but himself The Poet felt in many 
pockets, and made up very much less than 
half- a- crown. 

Not until all this had been done did the 
Sailor tell us that he had hired in that same 
house a little two- wheeled cart, with a strong 
horse and a driver, and that, for a very large 
sum, we might be driven all those miles through 
the night to Ardingly, and to the edge of the 


high woods, and that for his part we might 
come with him or not, but he would certainly 
drive fast through the darkness, and not sleep 
until he was on the forest ridge, and out of 
all this detestable part of the county, which 
was not made for men, but rather for tourists 
or foreigners, or I^ondon people that had lost 
their way. 

So we climbed into his cart, and we were 
driven through the night by cross roads, pass- 
ing no village except Fletching, until, quite at 
midnight, we were on the edge of the high 
woods, and there the driver was paid so much 
that he could put up and pass the night, but 
for our part we went on into the trees, led by 
the Sailor, who said he knew more of these 
woods than any other man. 

Therefore we followed him patiently, though 
how he should know these woods or when he 
had first come upon them he would not tell. 

We went through the dark trees by a long 
green ride, climbing the gate that a rich man 
had put up and locked, and passing deeper 
and deeper into the wild, and in the little that 
we said to each other, Grizzlebeard, the Sailor 


and I, we hoped for rest very soon ; but the 
Sailor went on before, knowing his way like a 
hound, and turning down this path and that 
until we came suddenly to a blot in the 
darkness, and a square of black stretching 
across the trees from side to side. It was a 
little hut. 

The Sailor first tried the door, then, finding 
it locked, he pulled a key from his pocket and 
entered, and when he had got inside out of 
the breeze, he struck a match and lit a candle 
that was there, standing on a copper stick, 
and we all came in and looked around. 

It was one room, and a small one, of 
weather boarding on all the four sides. There 
were two small windows, which were black in 
the candle light, and on the side to the right 
of the door a great fireplace of brick, with 
ashes in it and small wood and logs laid, and 
near this fireplace was a benched ingle-nook, 
and there were two rugs there. But for these 
things there was nothing in the hut whatso- 
ever, no book or furniture at all, except the 
candlestick, and the floor was of beaten 


"Sailor," said I, "how did you come to 
have the key of this place ? " 

It was wonderful enough that he should 
have known his way to it. But the Sailor 
said : 

" Why not ? " and after that would tell us 
no more. Only he said before we slept, late 
as it was, we would do well to light the fire, 
and put upon it two or three more of the 
great logs that stood by, since, in the autumn 
cold, we none of us should sleep however 
much we wrapped our cloaks about our 
feet, unless we had our feet to a blaze. 
And in this he was quite right, for no 
matter what the weather, and even out in 
the open, men can always sleep if they have 
a fire. So we made an agreement between 
us that Grizzlebeard, being an old man, was 
to have the bench and the rugs, but that we 
three were to stretch ourselves before the 
fire, when it should be lit; and, talking so 
and still wideawake, we struck matches and 
tried to coax the flame. 

But at first, on account of the wind without, 
it lit badly, and the small wood was damp 


and smoked, and the smoke blew into our 
faces and into the room; and the Sailor, 
shielding it with his coat and trying to get 
a draught in that great chimney-place, said 
that a smoking chimney was a cursed thing. 

" It is the worst thing in the world," said 
the Poet peevishly; to which the Sailor 
answered : 

"Nonsense! Death is the worst thing in 
the world." 

But Grizzlebeard, from where he lay on the 
broad bench with rugs about him, and his 
head resting on his hand, denied this too, 
speaking in a deep voice with wisdom. " You 
are neither of you right," he said. "The 
worst thing in the world is the passing of 
human affection. No man who has lost a 
friend need fear death," he said. 

The Sailor. " All that is Greek to me. If 
any man has made friends and lost them, it is 
I. I lost a friend in Lima once, but he turned 
up again at Valparaiso, and I can assure you 
that the time in between was no tragedy." 

Grizzlebeard {solemnly). " You talk lightly 
as though you were a younger man than you 


are. The thing of which 1 am speaking is 
the gradual weakening, and at last the sever- 
ance, of human bonds. It has been said 
that no man can see God and live. Here is 
another saying for you, very near the same : 
No man can be alone and Uve. None, not 
even in old age." 

He stopped and looked for some little time 
into the rising fire. Outside the wind went 
round the house, and one could hear the 
boughs in the darkness. 

Then Grizzlebeard went on : 

" When friendship disappears then there is 
a space left open to that awful loneliness of 
the outside which is like the cold of space 
between the planets. It is an air in which 
men perish utterly. Absolute dereliction is 
the death of the soul ; and the end of living is 
a great love abandoned." 

Myself. " But the place heals, Grizzlebeard." 

Grizzlebeard {still more solemnly). " All 
wounds heal in those who are condemned 
to live, but in the very process of healing 
they harden and forbid renewal. The thing 
is over and done." 


He went on monotonous and grave. He 
said that " everything else that there is in the 
action of the mind save loving is of its nature 
a growth : it goes through its phases of seed, 
of miraculous sprouting, of maturity, of somno- 
lescence, and of dechne. But with loving it is 
not so ; for the comprehension by one soul of 
another is something borrowed from whatever 
lies outside time; it is not under the condi- 
tions of time. Then if it passes, it is past — it 
never grows again ; and we lose it as men lose 
a diamond, or as men lose their honour." 

Myself. " Since you talk of honour. Grizzle- 
beard, I should have thought that the loss of 
honour was worse than the loss of friends." 

Ch^izzlebeai'd. " Oh, no. For the one is a 
positive loss, the other imaginary. Moreover, 
men that lose their honour have their way out 
by any one of the avenues of death. Not so 
men who lose the affection of a creature's 
eyes. Therein for them, I mean in death, is 
no solution : to escape from life is no escape 
from that loss. Nor of the many who have 
sought in death relief from their affairs is 
there one (at least of those I can remember) 


who sought that relief on account of the loss 
of a human heart." 

Tlie Poet. " When I said * it ' was the worst 
thing in the world just now so angrily, I was 
foolish. I should have remembered the tooth- 

The Sailor (eagerly and contemptuously). 
" Then there you are utterly wrong, for the 
earache is much worse." 

The Poet. *' I never had the earache." 

The Sailor {still contemptuously). " I thought 
not I If you had you would write better verse. 
It is your innocence of the great emotions that 
makes your verse so dreadful — in the minor 
sense of that word." 

Grizzlebeard. " You are both of you talk- 
ing like children. The passing of human 
affection is the worst thing in the world. 
When our friends die they go from us, but 
it is not of their own will ; or if it is of their 
own will, it is not of their own will in any con- 
tradiction to ours ; or even if it be of their 
own will in contradiction to ours and the end 
of a quarrel, yet it is a violent thing and still 
savours of affection. But that decay of what 


is living in the heart, and that numbness 
supervening, and that last indifference — oh ! 
these are not to be compared for unhappiness 
with any other ill on this unhappy earth. 
And all day long and in every place, if you 
could survey the w^orld from a height and look 
down into the hearts of men, you would see 
that frost stealing on." 

Myself. " Is this a thing that happens, 
Grizzlebeard, more notably to the old?" 

Grizzlebeard. " No. The old are used to it. 
They know it, but it is not notable to them. 
It is notable on the approach of middle age. 
When the enthusiasms of youth have grown 
either stale or divergent, and when, in the 
infinite opportunities which time affords, there 
has been opportunity for difference between 
friend and friend, then does the evil appear. 
The early years of a man's life do not com- 
monly breed this accident. So convinced are 
we then, and of such energy in the pursuit of 
our goal, that if we must separate we part 
briskly, each certain that the other is guilty of 
a great wrong. The one man will have it that 
some criminal is innocent, the other that an 

(1,655) E 


innocent man was falsely called a criminal. 
The one man loves a war, the other thinks it 
unjust and hates it (for all save the money- 
dealers think of war in terms of justice). Or 
the one man hits the other in the face. These 
are violent things. But it is when youth has 
ripened, and when the slow processes of life 
begin that the danger or the certitude of this 
dreadful thing appears : I mean of the passing 
of affection. For the mind has settled as the 
waters of a lake settle in the hills ; it is full of 
its own convictions, it is secure in its philo- 
sophy ; it will not mould or adapt itself to the 
changes of another. And, therefore, unless 
communion be closely maintained, affection 
decays. Now when it has decayed, and when 
at last it has altogether passed, then comes 
that awful vision of which I have spoken, 
which is the worst thing in the world." 

The Poet. ** The great poets, Grizzlebeard, 
never would admit this thing. They have 
never sung or deplored the passage of human 
affection ; they have sung of love turned to 
hatred, and of passion and of rage, and of the 
calm that succeeds passion, and of the doubt 


of the soul and of doom, and continually they 
have sung of death, but never of the evil of 
which you speak." 

The Sailor. *'That was because the evil was 
too dull ; as I confess I find it I Anything 
duller than the loss of a friend ! Why, it is 
like writing a poem on boredom or like sing- 
ing a song about Welbeck Street, to try and 
poetise such things ! Turn rather to this fire, 
which is beginning to blaze, thank God ! turn 
to it, and expect the morning." 

Myself. "You Poet and you Sailor, you 
are both of you wrong there. The thing 
has been touched upon, though very charily, 
for it is not matter for art. It just skims the 
surface of the return of Odysseus, and the 
poet Shakespeare has a song about it which 
you have doubtless heard. It is sung by 
gentlemen painted with grease paint and 
dressed in green cloth, one of whom is a 
Duke, and therefore wears a feather in his 
cap. They sit under canvas trees, also painted, 
and drink out of cardboard goblets, quite 
empty of all wine ; these goblets are evidently 
empty, for they hold them anyhow ; if there 


were real wine in them it would drop out. 
And thus accoutred and under circumstances 
so ridiculous, they sing a song called * Blow, 
blow, thou winter wind.' Moreover, a poet 
has written of the evil thing in this very 
County of Sussex, in these two lines: 

' The things I loved have all grown wearisome. 

The things that loved me are estranged or dead.' " 

Grizzlebeard. " * Estranged ' is the word : I 
was looking for that word. Estrangement is 
the saddest thing in the world." 

The Sailor. '* I cannot make head or tail of 
all this ! " 

The Poet, *' Have you never lost a friend ? " 

The Sailor. " Dozens — as I've already told 
you. And the one I most regret was a doctor 
man whom the owners shipped with us for 
a run to the Plate and back again. But I 
have never let it weigh upon my mind." 

Grizzlebeard. "The reason that the great 
poets have touched so little upon this thing 
is precisely because it is the worst thing in 
the world. It is a spur to no good deed, 
nor to any strong thinking, nor does it in 


any way emend the mind. Now the true 
poets, whether they will or no, are bound 
to emend the mind ; they are constrained to 
concern themselves with noble things. But 
in this there is nothing noble. It has not 
even horror nor doom to enhance it; it is an 
end, and it is an end without fruition. It 
is an end which leaves no questions and no 
quest. It is an end without adventure, an 
end complete, a nothingness ; and there is no 
matter for art in the mortal hunger of the 

And after this sad speech of his we were 
again silent, lying now at length before the 
fire, and the Sailor having Ut a pipe and 
smoking it. 

Then I remembered a thing I had read 
once, and I said : 

Myself. " I read once in a book of a man 
who was crossing a heath in a wild country 
not far from the noise of the sea. The wind 
and the rain beat upon him, and it was very 
cold, so he was glad to see a light upon the 
heath a long way off. He made towards it 
and, coming into that place, found it to be 


a chapel where some twenty or thirty were 
singing, and there was a priest at the altar 
saying Mass at midnight, and there was a 
monk serving his Mass. Now this traveller 
noticed how warm and brilliant was the 
place ; the windows shone with their colours, 
and all the stone was carved ; the altar was 
all alight, and the place was full of singing, 
for the twenty or thirty still sang, and he 
sang with them. . . . But their faces he 
could not see, for the priest who said the 
Mass and the man who served the Mass both 
had their faces from him, and all in that 
congregation were hooded, and their faces 
were turned away from him also, but their 
singing was loud, and he joined in it. He 
thought he was in fairyland. And so he 
was. For as that Mass ended he fell asleep, 
suffused with warmth, and his ears still full 
of music ; but when he woke he found that 
the place was a ruin, the windows empty, 
and the wind roaring through ; no glass, or 
rather a few broken panes, and these quite 
plain and colourless ; dead leaves of trees 
blown in upon the altar steps, and over the 


whole of it the thin and miserable light of 
a winter dawn. 

"This story which I read went on to say 
that the man went on his journey under that 
new and unhappy Ught of a stormy winter 
dawn, on over the heath in the wild country. 
But though he had made just such a journey 
the day before, yet his mind was changed. 
In the interlude he had lost something great ; 
therefore the world was worth much less to 
him than it had been the day before, though 
if he had heard no singing in between, nor had 
seen no lights at evening, the journey would 
have seemed the same. This advantage first, 
and then that loss succeeding, had utterly im- 
poverished him, and his journey meant nothing 
to him any more. This is the story which I 
read, and I take it you mean something of 
the kind." 

"Yes, I meant something of the kind," 
said Grizzlebeard in answer, sighing. " I was 
thinking of the light that shines through the 
horn, and how when the light is extinguished 
the horn thickens cold and dull. I was 
thinking of irrevocable things." 


At this the Poet, whom we had thought 
dozing, started to his feet. 

"Oh, let us leave so disheartening a 
matter," said he, "and consider rather what 
is the best thing in the world than what is 
the worst. For in the midst of this wood, 
where everything is happy except man, and 
where the night should teach us quiet, we 
ought to learn or discover what is the best 
thing in the world." 

" I know of no way of doing that," said the 
Sailor, " but by watching the actions of men 
and seeing to what it is they will chiefly 
attach themselves. For man knows his own 
nature, and that which he pursues must 
surely be his satisfaction ? Judging by which 
measure I determine that the best thing in 
the world is flying at full speed from 
pursuit, and keeping up hammer and thud 
and gasp and bleeding till the knees fail 
and the head grows dizzy, and at last we 
all fall down and that thing (whatever it 
is) which pursues us catches us up and eats 
our carcases. This way of managing our 
lives, I think, must be the best thing in the 


world — for nearly all men choose to live 

Myself. *' What you say there. Sailor, 
seems sound enough, but I am a little puzzled 
in this point : why, if most men follow their 
satisfaction, most men come to so wretched 
an end ? " 

The Sailor. "Why that I cannot tell. 
That is their business. But certainly as I 
have watched men it seems to me that they 
regard being hunted as the best thing in the 
world. For one man having as much as 
would enable him (if he were so inclined) to 
see the world of God, and to eat all kinds 
of fruit and flesh, and to drink the best of 
beer, will none the less start a race with a 
Money- Devil : a fleet, strong Money -Devil 
with a goad. And when this Money-Devil 
has given him some five years start, say until 
he is nearly thirty years of age, then will that 
man start racing and careering and bounding 
and flying with the Money-Devil after him, 
over hill and valley, field and fen, and wood 
and waste, and the high heaths and the wolds, 
until at last (somewhere about sixty as a rule 


or a little later) he gives a great cry and 
throws up his hands and falls down. Then 
does the Money-Devil come and eat him up. 
Many millions love such a course. 

*' And there is also that other sort of 
hunt, in which some appetite or lust sets 
out a-chasing the jolly human, and puts him 
at fence and hedge, and gate and dyke, and 
round the spinney and over the stubble and 
racing over the bridge, and then double again 
through copse and close, and thicket and 
thorn, until he has spent his breath upon the 
high Downs, and then, after a little respite, 
a second clear run all the way to the grave. 
Which, when the hunted human sees it very 
near at hand, he commonly stops of set 
purpose, and this thing that has chased him 
catches him up and eats him, even as did 
the other. Millions are seen to pursue this 
lust-hunted course, and some even try to com- 
bine it with that other sort of money-devil- 
huntedness. But the advice is given to all in 
youth that they must make up their minds 
which of the two sorts of exercises they would 
choose, and the first is commonly praised and 


thought worthy; the second blamed. Why, 
I do not know. Our elders say to us, * Boy, 
choose the Money-Devil, give that Lord his 
run.' Both kinds of sport have seemed to me 
most miserable, but then I speak only for 
myself, and I am eccentric in the holidays I 
choose and the felicity I discover for myself 
in the conduct of my years. 

" For, so far as I am concerned, my 
pleasure is found rather in having a game with 
that Great Three-toed Sloth, which is the 
most amiable of hell's emissaries, and all my 
life have I played the jolly game of tickling 
him forward and lolloping in front of him, 
now lying down until he has caught me up, 
and then slouching off until he came near 
again, and even at times making a spurt that 
I might have the longer sleep at the end, 
and give honest Sloth a good long waddle 
for his money. 

" Yet after all, my method is the same as 
every one else's, and will have the same 

" For when I see the grave a long way off, 
then do I mean to put on slippers and to 


mix myself a great bowl of mulled wine with 
nutmegs, and to fill a pipe, and to sit me 
down in a great arm-chair before a fire of oak 
or beech, burning in a great hearth, within 
sound of the Southern Sea. 

" And as I sit there, drinking my hot wine 
and smoking my long pipe, and watching the 
fire, and remembering old storms and land- 
falls far away, I shall hear the plodding and 
the paddling and the shuffling and the muffling 
of that great Sloth, my life's pursuer, and he 
will butt at my door with his snout, but 
I shall have been too lazy to lock it, and so 
shall he come in. Then the Great Three-toed 
Sloth will eat me up, and thus shall / find 
the end of my being and have reached the 
best thing in the world." 

Myself. " While you were speaking. Sailor, 
it seemed to me you had forgotten one great 
felicity, manly purpose, and final completion 
of the immortal spirit, which is surely the 
digging of holes and the filling of them up 
again ? " 

The Sailor. *' You are right ! I had for- 
gotten that I It is indeed an admirable 


pastime, and for some, perhaps for many, it 
is the best thing in the world 1" 

Myself. " Yes, indeed, for consider how we 
drink to thirst again, and eat to hunger again, 
and love for disappointment, and journey in 
order to return. And consider with what 
elaborate care we cut, clip, shave, remove 
and prune our hair and beard, which none 
the less will steadfastly re-grow, and how we 
earn money to spend it, and black boots 
before walking in the mire, and do penance 
before sinning, and sleep to wake, and wake 
to sleep ; and very elaborately do pin, button, 
tie, hook, hang, lace, draw, pull up, be-tighten, 
and in diverse ways fasten about ourselves our 
very complicated clothes of a morning, only 
to unbutton, unpin, untie, unhook, let down, 
be-loosen, and in a thousand operations put 
them off again when midnight comes. Then 
there is the soiling of things for their clean- 
sing, and the building of houses to pull them 
down again, and the making of wars for de- 
feat or for barren victories, and the painting 
of pictures for the rich blind, and the singing 
of songs for the wealthy deaf, and the living 


of all life to the profit of others, and the 
begetting of children who may perpetuate all 
that same round. The more I think of it 
the more I see that the digging of holes and 
the filling of them up again is the true end 
of man and his felicity." 

The Poet. " I think you must be wrong." 

Myself. " Well then, since you know, what 
is the best thing in the world ? " 

The Poet. " It is a mixture wherein should 
be compounded and intimately mixed great 
wads of unexpected money, new landscapes, 
and the return of old loves." 

The Sailor. " Oh, hear him with his return 
of old loves I All coming in procession, two 
by two, Hke the old maids of Midhurst troop- 
ing out of church of a Sunday morning I 
One would think he had slain a hundred with 
his eye ! " 

Grizzlebeard. "All you young men talk 
folly. The best thing in the world is sleep." 

And having said so much, Grizzlebeard 
stretched himself upon the bench along one 
side of the fire, and, pulling his blanket over 
his head, he would talk to us no more. And 



we also after a little while, lying huddled in 
our coats before the blaze, slept hard. And so 
we passed the hours till morning ; now waking 
in the cold to start a log, then sleeping again. 
And all night long the wind sounded in the 







■ '"S 













I WOKE next morning to the noise, the plea- 
sant noise, of water boiling in a kettle. May 
God bless that noise and grant it to be the 
most sacred noise in the world. For it is 
the noise that babes hear at birth and that 
old men hear as they die in their beds, and 
it is the noise of our households all our 
long Uves long ; and throughout the world, 
wherever men have hearths, that purring and 
that singing, and that humming and that 


talking to itself of warm companionable water 
to our great ally, the fire, is home. 

So thought I, half awake, and half asleep 
upon the hard dry earth of that floor. Yet, 
as I woke, my mind, not yet in Sussex, 
thought I was sleeping in an open field, and 
that there were round me comrades of the 
regiment, and that the embers that warmed 
my feet were a bivouac fire. Then I sat up, 
broad awake, and stiff after such a lodging, 
to find the Sailor crouching over the renewed 
flames of two stout logs on which he 
had established a kettle and water from a 
spring. He had also with him a packet of 
tea and some sugar, a loaf, and a little 

Grizzlebeard, stiff and stark upon his back 
along the bench, his head fallen flat, unsup- 
ported, his mouth open, breathing but slightly, 
seemed like a man dead. As for the Poet, 
he lay bunched up as would a man who had 
got the last bit of warmth he could ; and he 
was still in a dead sleep, right up against the 
further corner of the fire. 

I shook my coat from me and stood up. 


** Sailor," I said, " how long have you been 
awake ? " 

To which the Sailor answered : 

" Ever since I was born : worse luck ! I 
never sleep." 

" Where did you get those things," said I, 
"that tea, that milk, that sugar, and that 

I yawned as I said it, and then I stretched 
my hands, which sleep had numbed, towards 
the rising life of the fire. The Sailor was still 
crouching at the kettle as he answered me 
slowly and with care : 

" Why, you must know that near this house 
there lives a Troll, who many many years ago 
when he was young was ensnared by the love 
of a Fairy, upon that heath called Over-the- 
world. And he brought her home to be his 
bride, and lives close by here in a hut that is 
not of this world. He is my landlord, as it 
were, and he it was that gave me this tea, 
this milk, this sugar, and this loaf, but it is 
no good your asking where, for no one can 
find that warlock house of theirs but me." 

" That was a long lie to tell," said I, ♦* for 


I certainly should not have bothered myself 
to find out where the things came from, so 
only that I can get them free." 

"You are right," said the Sailor, "and I 
also got them free." 

And having said that he upset the packet 
of tea, and the sugar, and the milk, right 
into the kettle, so that I cried out to him 
in alarm : 

" What are you at ? " 

But he told me, as he took the kettle off: 

*' That is the way the Troll - tea was 
brewed by the Master-maid upon the heath 
called Over-the-world. I have been there, so 
I know." 

And with that he gave a great kick at the 
Poet, who sat up suddenly from his lump of 
clothes, looked wild for a moment, then knew 
where he was, and said " Oh I " 

*' It doesn't rhyme," said the Sailor, " but 
you shall have some tea." 

He poured out from the kettle, into the 
common mug we carried, a measure of the 
tea, and with his jack-knife he cut off a slice 
of bread. 


Our talk had awakened Grizzlebeard. That 
older man rose painfully from sleep, as though 
to see the day again were not to one of his 
years any very pleasing thing. He sat upon 
the bench, and for him, as to the one of 
honour, the tea was next poured out into that 
silver mug of his, and then was handed to 
him the next slice of bread. Then I drank 
and ate, and then the Sailor, and when aU 
this was done we made things orderly in the 
hut, the Sailor and I. We folded the blankets 
and stood up the unburnt logs. We poured 
the kettle out and drank the milk, and stood 
the loaf upon the ingle-nook, and bidding fare- 
well to that unknown place we left it, to 
converse with it no more. But the reason we 
had to put all things in order so, was (the 
Sailor told me) that if we angered the Troll 
he might never let us sleep there again. 

" You are wonderful company, Sailor I " 
said I. 

" For others, perhaps," said he, as he locked 
the door and put the key in his pocket, " but 
not for myself; and yet that is the only thing 
that matters 1 " 


By this time we were all upon the forest 
path again, turning this way and that as the 
Sailor might lead us. Sometimes we crossed 
a great ride without turning down it, and once 
the broad high road. But we went straight 
across that, and we passed many signs where 
it said that any common man found in these 
woods would be imprisoned, and some where 
it said that any one not rich and yet wander- 
ing here might find themselves killed by 
engines. But the Sailor dodged his way 
nimbly about, making westward through it 
all, but so cunningly that even I, who know 
my County well, grew puzzled. I could not 
guess in what part of the wood we were until 
we came to a bottom through which a stream 
ran, and then I knew that this stream was 
the rising of the Mole, and that we were in 
Tilgate. Then I said to my companions : 
*' Now the woods smell of home ! " 

But Grizzlebeard said that, considering what 
the world was like outside the County, all the 
County was home. And the Poet said that 
here were homing bits in the forest, and there 
were homing bits, and others that were stranger 


to him, and had not the spirit of our 

But the Sailor said nothing, only leading 
us forward by clever paths so that the servants 
of the rich could not do us any hurt, and then 
he got us into an open glade, and there we 
sat and rested for a moment, with our breath 
drawing in the morning. 

For the morning was not as the night had 
been, full of wind and hurrying clouds, but 
it was the morning after a gale, in which, 
on these high hills and among these lifting 
trees, the air was ambassadorial, bringing a 
message of life from the sea. But it was a 
halted air. It no longer followed in the pro- 
cession of the gale, but was steady and arrived. 
So that the sky above us was not clouded, 
and had in it no sign of movement, but was 
pale with a wintry blue. And there was a 
frost and a bite all about, although it was so 
early in the year and winter hardly come. 
But the leaves had fallen early that year, and 
the forest was already desolate. 

When we had rested ourselves a moment in 
this glade we followed the Sailor again by a 


path which presently he left, conducting us 
with care through untouched underwood, 
until we came to a hedge, and there across 
the hedge was the great main road and Pease 
Pottage close at hand. 

" I have led you through this wood," the 
Sailor said, " and now you may take what road 
you will." 

Myself. " Now, indeed, I know every yard 
of the way ; and 1 will take you down towards 
our own country. But I will take you in my 
own fashion, for I know the better places, and 
the quiet lands, and a roof under which we 
shall be free to sleep at evening. You shall 
follow me." 

" You know all this ? " said Grizzlebeard 
to me curiously, " then can you tell me why 
all these woods are called St. Leonard's 
Forest ? " 

Myself. "Why, certainly; they are called 
St. Leonard's Forest after St. Leonard." 

The Poet. " Are you so sure ? " 

Myself. "Without a doubt! For it is certain 
that St. Leonard lived here, and had a little 
hermitage in the days when poor men might 


go where they willed. And this hermitage was 
in that place to which I shall presently take 
you, from which it is possible to worship at 
once both our County, and God who made it." 

Saying which I took them along the side 
road which starts from Pease Pottage (and in 
those days the old inn was there), but before 
doing so I asked them severally whether they 
had any curse on them which forbade them to 
drink ale of a morning. 

This all three of them denied, so we went 
into the Swan (which in those days I say 
again was the old inn), and we drank ale, 
as St. Leonard himself was used to do, round 
about nine or ten o'clock of an autumn 
morning. For he was born in these parts, 
and never went out of the County except 
once to Germany, when he would convert the 
heathen there; of whom, returning, he said 
that if it should please God he would rather 
be off to hell to convert devils, but that 
anyhow he was tired of wandering, and there- 
upon set up his hermitage in the place to 
which I was now leading my companions. 

For when we had gone about a mile by the 


road I knew, we came to that place where 
the wood upon the left ends sharply upon 
that height and suddenly beneath one's feet 
the whole County lies revealed. 

There, a day's march away to the south, 
stood the rank of the Downs. 

No exiles who have seen them thus, coming 
back after many years, and following the road 
from London to the sea, hungry for home, were 
struck more suddenly or more suddenly uplifted 
by that vision of their hills than we four men 
so coming upon it that morning, and I was 
for the moment their leader; for this was a 
place I had cherished ever since I was a boy. 

*' Look," said I to Grizzlebeard, " how true 
it is that in this very spot a man might set 
his seat whence-from to worship all that he 
saw, and God that must have made it." 

"You are right," said Grizzlebeard ; " I see 
before me the Weald in a tumbled garden, 
Wolstonbury above New Timber and Highden 
and Rackham beyond " (for these are the 
names of the high hills), " and far away west- 
ward I see under Duncton the Garden of Eden, 
1 think, to which we are bound. And sitting 


crowned in the middle place I see Chancton- 
bury, which, I think, a dying man remem- 
bers so fixed against the south, if he is a 
man from Ashurst, or from Thakeham, or 
from the pine-woods by the rock, whenever 
by some evil-fortune a Sussex man dies far 
away from home." 

" Tell me," said the Sailor, " can you fix 
for us here the place where St. Leonard built 
his hermitage ? " 

"Certainly," said I, and they gathered 

" Here," said I, " was the cella " (drawing a 
circle with my stick upon the ground), " and 
here " (moving off a yard or two) " was his 
narthex or carfax^ as some call it, and here to 
the right" (and here I moved backwards and 
drew my stick across some sand) " was the 
bibulatium ; but all the ruins of this monument 
have disappeared through quarrying and the 
effects of time, saving always such traces as 
can be distinguished by experts, and I am 

Then, wishing to leave them no time for 
wrangling, I took them down away through 


Shelley Plain, and when I had gone a mile 
or so I said : 

"Is not the river to which we are bound 
the river of Arun ? " 

The Poet. ** Why, yes. If it were not so 
I would never have joined you." 

The Sailor. " Certainly we are bound for 
Arun, which, when a man bathes in it, makes 
him forget everything that has come upon 
him since his eighteenth year — or possibly his 

"Yes," said Grizzlebeard, more gravely, 
" we are bound for the river of Arun, which 
is as old as it is young, and therein we hope 
to find our youth, and to discover once again 
the things we knew." 

"Why, then," said I, "let me mock you 
and cover you with disillusion, and profane 
your shrines, and disappoint your pilgrimage I 
For that trickle of water below you to the left 
in the dale, and that long lake you see with 
a lonely wood about either shore is the place 
where Arun rises." 

Grizzlebeard. "That is nothing to me as 
we go along our way. It is not httle baby 


Arun that I come to see, but Arun in his 
majesty, married to salt water, and a king." 

The Sailor. "For my part I am glad to 
have assisted at the nativity of Arun. Prosper, 
beloved river I It is your business (not mine) 
if you choose to go through so many doubt- 
ful miles of youth, and to grope uncertainly 
towards fruition and the sea." 

The Poet. " There is always some holiness 
in the rising of rivers, and a great attachment 
to their springs." 

By this time we had come to the lake foot, 
where a barrier holds in the water, and the 
road crosses upon a great dam. And we 
watched as we passed it the plunge of the 
cascade ; and then passing over that young 
river we went up over the waste land to 
the height called Lower Beeding, which 
means the lower place of prayer, and is 
set upon the very summit of a hill. Just 
as Upper Beeding is at the very lowest point 
in the whole County of Sussex, right down, 
down, down upon the distant marshes of 
Adur, flush, as you may say, with the sea. 

For when Adam set out (with the help of 


Eve) to name all the places of the earth (and 
that is why he had to live so long), he desired 
to distinguish Sussex, late his happy seat, by 
some special mark which should pick it out 
from all the other places of the earth, its 
inferiors and vassals. So that when Paradise 
might be regained and the hopeless genera- 
tion of men permitted to pass the Flaming 
Sword at Shiremark Mill, and to see once 
more the four rivers, Arun and Adur, and 
Cuckmere and Ouse, they might know their 
native place again and mark it for Paradise. 
And the best manner (thought Adam) so to 
establish by names this good peculiar place, 
this Eden which is Sussex still, was to make 
her names of a sort that should give fools to 
think. So he laid it down that whatever was 
high in Sussex should be called low, and 
whatever was low should be called high, and 
that a hill should be called a plain, and a bank 
should be called a ditch, and the North wood 
should be south of the Downs, and the Nore 
Hill south of the wood, and South water north 
of them all, and that no one in the County 
should pronounce " th," " ph," or " sh," but 


always " h " separately, under pain of damna- 
tion. And that names should have their last 
letters weighed upon, contrariwise to the 
custom of all England. 

So much for our names, which any man 
may prove for himself by considering Bos-ham, 
and Felp-ham, and Hors-ham, and Arding-ly, 
and the square place called " Roundabout." 
Or the Broadbridge, which is so narrow that 
two carts cannot pass on it. God knows we 
are a single land ! 

We had passed then, we four (and hungry, 
and stepping strongly, for it was downhill), 
we had passed under the cold pure air of that 
good day from Lower Beeding down the hill 
past Leonard's Lee, and I was telling my 
companions how we might hope to eat and 
drink at the Crabtree or at Little Cowfold, 
when the Sailor suddenly began to sing in a 
manner so loud and joyful that in some more 
progressive place than the County he would 
most certainly have been thrown into prison. 
But the occasion of his song was a good 
one, for debouching through the wooded 
part of the road we had just come upon 

(1,656) Q 



that opening whence once more, though 
from a lower height, the open Weald and 
the magnificence of the Downs is spread 
out to glorify men's eyes. He sang that 
song, which is still native to this land, 
through all the length of it, and we who had 
heard it each in our own place first helped 
him with the chorus, and then swelled it alto- 
gether in diverse tones. He beginning : — 

" On Sussex hills where I was bred. 
When lanes in autumn rains are red. 
When Arun tumbles in his bed, 
And busy great gusts go by ; 
When branch is bare in Burton Glen 
And Bury Hill is a whitening, then, 
I drink strong ale with gentlemen ; 
Which nobody can deny, deny. 
Deny, deny, deny, deny. 

Which nobody can deny ! 



" In half-November off I go. 
To push my face against the snow, 
And watch the winds wherever they blow. 

Because my heart is high : 
Till I settle me down in Steyning to sing 
Of the women I met in my wandering. 
And of all that I mean to do in the spring. 
Which nobody can deny, deny, 
Deny, deny, deny, deny. 

Which nobody can deny 1 


" Then times be rude and weather be rough. 
And ways be foul and fortune tough. 
We are of the stout South Country stuff, 
That never can have good ale enough. 

And do this chorus cry ! 
From Crowboro' Top to Ditchling Down, 
From Hurstpierpoint to Arundel town. 
The girls are plump and the ale is brown : 
Which nobody can deny, deny. 
Deny, deny, deny, deny ! 

If he does he tells a lie ! " 

When we had all done singing and were 

near the Crabtree, the Sailor said : 
" Now, was not that a good song ? " 
" Yes," said I, " and well suited to this 

morning and to this air, and to that broad 


sight of the lower land which now spreads 
out before us." 

For even as I spoke we had come to that 
little shelf on which the Crabtree stands, 
and from which one may see the Downs all 
stretched before one, and Bramber Gap, and 
in the notch of it the high roof of Lancing ; 
and then onwards, much further away, 
Arundel Gap and the hills and woods of 
home. It was certainly in the land beneath 
us, and along the Weald, which we over- 
looked, that once, many years ago, a young 
man must have written this song. 

Grizzlebeard. " In what places. Myself, do 
you find that you can sing ? " 

Myself. *' In any place whatsoever." 

The Sailor. " As, for instance, at the table 
of some rich money-lending man who has 
a few men friends to dinner that night, with 
whom he would discuss Affairs of State, and 
who has only asked you because you were 
once a hanger-on of his great-nephew's. This 
would seem to me an excellent occasion on 
which to sing ' Golier ! ' " 

Tlie Poet. " Yes, or again, when you are 


coming (yourself small and unknown) to the 
reception of some wealthy hostess from whom 
you expect advancement. It was in such a 
place and at such a time that Charlie Rib- 
ston, now in jail, did first so richly produce 
his song, * The Wowly Wows,' which has that 
jolly chorus to it." 

Grizzlebeard. " The reason I asked you 
where you could sing was, that I thought 
it now impossible in any place, I mean in 
this realm, and in our dreadful time. For 
is there not a law, and is it not in force, 
whereby any man singing in the open, if he 
be overheard by the police, shall be certified 
by two doctors, imprisoned, branded, his 
thumb marks taken, his hair shaved off, one 
of his eyes put out, all his money matters 
carefully gone into backwards and forwards, 
and, in proportion to the logarithm of his 
income a large tax laid on ? And after all 
this the duty laid upon him under heavy pains 
of reporting himself every month to a local 
committee, with the parson's wife up top, 
and to a politician's jobber, and to all such 
other authorities as may see fit, pursuant to 


the majesty of our Lord the King, his crown 
and dignity ? I seem to have heard some- 
thing of the kind." 

" Yes, you are right enough," said I ; " but 
when a man comes to lonely places, which 
are like islands and separate from this sea 
of tyranny, as, for instance, this road by 
Leonard's Lee, why a man can still sing." 

The Sailor. *' Yes, and in an inn." 

" In a few inns," said I, " under some con- 
ditions and at certain times." 

Grizzlebeard. " Very well, we will choose 
upon this march of ours such inns and such 
times. And is this one ? " he added, point- 
ing to the Crabtree. 

" Not outside," I answered cautiously, *• nor 
at this hour." 

" However," said the Poet, " we will eat." 

So we sat outside there upon the benches 
of the Crabtree Inn, eating bread and 

Now when we had eaten our bread and 
cheese in that cold, still air, and overlook- 
ing so great a scene below us, and when we 
had drunk yet more of the ale, and also of 


a port called Jubilee (for the year of Jubilee 
was, at the time this walk was taken, not 
more than five years past), the Sailor said 
in a sort of challenging tone : 

" You were saying, I think, that a man 
could only sing to-day in certain lonely 
places, such as all down that trim hedge- 
row, which is the roadside of Leonard's Lee, 
and when Grizzlebeard here asked whether 
a man might sing outside the Crabtree, you 
said no. But I will make the experiment ; 
and by way of compromise, so that no one 
may be shocked, my song shall be of a re- 
ligious sort, dealing with the great truths. 
And perhaps that will soften the heart of the 
torturers, if indeed they have orders, as you 
say, to persecute men for so simple a thing 
as a song." 

Grizzlebeard. " If your song is one upon 
the divinities, it will not go with ale and 
with wine, nor with the character of an 

The Sailor. "Do not be so sure. Wait 
until you have heard it. For this song that 
I am proposing to sing is of a good loud 



roaring sort, but none the less it deals with 
the ultimate things, and you must know 
that it is far more than one thousand years 
old. Now it cannot be properly sung unless 
the semi-chorus (which I will indicate by 
raising my hands) is sung loudly by all of you 
together, nor unless the chorus is bellowed 
by the lot of you for dear life's sake, until 
the windows rattle and the populace rise. 
Such is the nature of the song." 

Having said so much then, the Sailor, lean- 
ing back, began in a very full and decisive 
manner to sing this 

Song of the Pelagian Heresy for the Strengthening 
OF Men's Backs and the very Robust Out- 
thrusting OF Doubtful Doctrine and the Uncer- 
tain Intellectual. 

Pelagius lived in Kardanoel, 

And taught a doctrine there, 
How whether you went to Heaven or Hell, 

It was your own affair. 


How, whether you found eternal joy 

Or sank forever to burn, 
It had nothing to do with the Church, my boy, 

But was your own concern. 

Grizzlebeard. " This song is blasphemous." 
The Sailor. "Not at all — the exact con- 
trary, it is orthodox. But now I beg of you 
do not interrupt, for this is the semi-chorus." 

[Semi-chorus. '\ 

Oh, he didn't believe 
In Adam and Eve, 

He put no faith therein ! 
His doubts began 
With the fall of man. 

And he laughed at original sin ! 

In this semi-chorus we all joined, catching 
it up as he went along, and then the Sailor, 
begging us to put all our manhood into it, 
launched upon the chorus itself, which was 
both strong and simple. 


With my row-ti-tow, ti-oodly-ow, 
He laughed at original sin I 

When we had got as far as this, which was 
the end of the first verse, and defines the 


matter in hand, the very extravagant noise of 
it all brought out from their dens not a few of 
the neighbourhood, who listened and waited 
to see what would come. But the Sailor, not 
at all abashed, continued, approaching the 
second verse. 

Whereat the Bishop of old Auxerre 

(Germanus was his name), 
He tore great handfuls out of his hair. 

And he called Pelagius Shame : 
And then with his stout Episcopal staff 

So thoroughly thwacked and banged 
The heretics all, both short and tall. 

They rather had been hanged. 


Oh, he thwacked them hard, and he banged them long, 

Upon each and all occasions. 
Till they bellowed in chorus, loud and strong, 
Their orthodox persuasions ! 


With my row-ti-tow, ti-oodly-ow. 

Their orthodox persu-a-a-sions ' 

At the end of this second verse the crowd 
had grown greater, and not a few of them 
had dropped their lower jaws and stood with 
their mouths wide open, never having heard 
a song of this kind before. But the Sailor, 


looking kindly upon them, and nodding at 
them, as much as to say, " You will under- 
stand it all in a minute," took on the third 
verse, with still greater gusto, and sang : — 

Now the Faith is old and the Devil is bold. 

Exceedingly bold indeed; 
And the masses of doubt that are floating about 

Would smother a mortal creed. 
But we that sit in a sturdy youth. 

And still can drink strong ale. 
Oh — let us put it away to infallible truth. 

Which always shall prevail ! 

[^Semi-chorus. ] 

And thank the Lord 
For the temporal sword, 

And howling heretics too ; 
And whatever good things 
Our Christendom brings. 

But especially barley brew ! 


With my row-ti-tow, ti-oodly-ow. 
Especially barley brew ! 

When we had finished this last chorus in a 
louder mode than all the rest, you may say 
that half the inhabitants of that hill were 
standing round. But the Sailor, rising 
smartly and putting money down upon the 
table to pay for our fare and somewhat 


over, bade us all rise with him, which 
we did, and then he spoke thus to the 
assembly : — 

"Good people I I trust you clearly heard 
every word of what we have just delivered to 
you, for it is Government business, and we 
were sent to give it to you just as we had 
ourselves received it of the Cabinet, whose 
envoys we are. And let me add for your 
comfort that this same Government of our 
Lord the King (his crown and dignity), ever 
solicitous for the welfare of poorer folk, has 
given us monies wherewith to refresh all the 
people of Sussex all our way along. On which 
account I have left here upon the table, in the 
name of the aforesaid Right Honourables, a 
sum of five shillings, against which you may 
order ale to the breaking point, and so good- 
day to you. But you are strictly charged 
that you do not follow us or molest us in 
any fashion, to the offence of those good 
Ministers who lie awake at night, consider- 
ing the good of the people, and the service of 
our Lord the King (his crown and dignity). 
Oyez 1 Le Roi le veulL ! " 


And having said this he beckoned us to 
follow him, and as we strode down the road 
we heard them all cheering loudly, for they 
thought that time had come which is spoken 
of by the Prophet Habakkuk, "When the 
poor shall be filled and the rich shall be 
merry." A thing that never yet was since 
the beginning of the world. 

• ••••• 

As we swung down the road which leads at 
last to Little Cowfold, Grizzlebeard, thinking 
about that song, said : 

" I cannot believe, Sailor, that your song is 
either old or true ; for there is no such place 
as Kardanoel, and Pelagius never lived there, 
and his doctrine was very different from what 
you say, and the blessed Germanus would not 
have hurt a fly. As witness that battle of his 
somewhere in Flint, where he discomforted 
the Scotch, of all people, by talking Hebrew 
too loud, although he only knew one word of 
the tongue. Then, also, what you say of ale 
is not ecclesiastical, nor is it right doctrine to 
thank the Lord for heresy." 

Tlie Sailor. " Anything you will I But 


every church must have its customs within 
reason, and this song, or rather hymn, is of 
Breviary, and very properly used in the 
diocese of Theleme upon certain feast days. 
Yes, notably that of Saints Comus and 
Hilarius, who, having nothing else to do, 
would have been cruelly martyred for the 
faith had they not contrariwise, as befits 
Christian men, be-martyred and banged to 
death their very persecutors in turn. It is 
a prose of the church militant, and is ascribed 
to Dun-Scotus, but is more probably of tradi- 
tional origin. Compare the * Hymn to the 
Ass,' which all good Christian men should 

Ghizzlebeard. "Nevertheless I doubt if it 
be for the strengthening of souls, but rather 
a bit of ribaldry, more worthy of the Martyrs' 
Mount which you may know, than of holy 

When we had come to Little Cowfold, 
which we did very shortly, it was already past 
three in the afternoon, and therefore in such 
early weather (more wintry than autumn) the 
air had a touch of evening, and looking at the 


church there and admiring it, we debated 
whether we should stop in that place a little 
while and pick a quarrel with any one, or 
lacking that, sing another song, or lacking 
that, drink silently. For Virgil says, " Pro- 
pria quae Cowfold Carmen Cervisia Ludus." 

But as it was so late we thought we would 
not do any of these things, but take the 
way along to Henfield and get us near to the 
Downs, though how far we should go that 
night we none of us could tell. Only we 
were settled on this, that by the next day, 
which would be All-Hallows, we must come 
upon the river Arun and the western part of 
the County, and all the things we knew. 

So we went on southward towards Henfield, 
and as we went, Grizzlebeard, who was strid- 
ing strongly, reminded us that it was All 
Halloween. On this night of all nights in the 
year there is most stir and business among 
the things that are not seen by men, and 
there is a rumour in all the woods ; and 
very late, when men are sleeping, all those 
who may not come to earth at any other 
time, come and hold their revels. The Little 


People who are good for the most part, dance 
this night in the meadows and undergrowth, 
and move in and out of the reeds along the 
river bank, and twine round and round in 
rings holding hands upon the flat pastures, 
the water meadows, and the heaths that are 
nearer the sea. It is this dancing of theirs 
that leaves upon the grass its track in a 
brighter green, and marks the fields with 
those wheels and circles which convince un- 
believing men. 

The Poet said that he had seen the Little 
People, but we knew that what he said was 

Grizzlebeard said that though he had not 
seen them he believed, in reward for which 
the Little People had blest him all his life. 
And that was why (he told us) he was so rich, 
for though his father had left him plenty, the 
Little People had increased it, because he 
had neither doubted them nor ever wished 
them ill. 

The Sailor. *' Then you were lucky I For 
it is well known that those who come upon 
the Little People dancing round and round are 


caught by them in the middle of the ring. And 
the Little People laugh at them with a noise 
like very small silver bells. And then, as though 
to make amends for their laughter, they lead 
the mortal away to a place where one can go 
underground. And when they get there, in a 
fine hall where the Queen sits with Oberon, it 
is ordered that the man shall be given gold. 
They bring him a sack, and he stuffs it full 
of the gold pieces, full to the neck, and he 
shoulders it and makes to thank them, when, 
quite suddenly, he finds he is no longer in 
that hall, but on the open heath at early 
morning with no one about, and in an air 
quite miserably cold. Then that man, shiver- 
ing and wondering whether ever he saw the 
Little People or no, says to himself, ' At 
least I have my gold.' But when he goes to 
take the sack up again he finds it very light, 
and pouring out from it upon the ground 
he gets, instead of the gold they gave him, 
nothing but dead leaves; the round dead 
leaves and brown of the beech, and of the 
hornbeam, for it is of this sort that they mint 
the fairy gold. They say that as he leaves 

(1,065) J J 


it there, disappointed and angry at his adven- 
ture, he seems to hear again, though it is day- 
Ught, far down beneath the ground, the slight 
tinkle of many tinj'' silver bells, and knows 
that it is the Little People laughing." 

Grizzlebeard, " So it may be for those who 
have the great misfortune to see the Little 
People, but, as I told you, I have never seen 
them, and with me it has been the other way 
about. Year after year have I picked up the 
dead leaves, until all the leaves of my life 
were dead, and year after year I have found 
between my hands gold and more gold." 

The Poet. " I tell you again I have seen 
them, and when I was a younger man I saw 
them often, and 1 would be with them for 
hours in that good place of theirs where 
nothing matters very much and no one goes 

The Sailor. " And what did they give you 
beyond that loon look which is the mark of 
all your tribe ? " 

The Poet. " Why, they gave me the power 
to conceive good verse, and this I still 


The Sailor. " Now indeed, Poet, I believe, 
which I did not at first, that you have seen 
the Little People. For what you have just 
said proves it to me. You also have handled 
fairy gold — and there are many like you. For 
the Little People gave you verse that seemed 
well minted, sterling and sound, and you put 
it into your sack and you bore it away. But 
when you came out into man's- world and tasted 
the upper air, then, as all your hearers and 
your readers know, this verse turned out to be 
the light and worthless matter of dead leaves. 
Oh, do not shake your head ! We know that 
verse of youth which the fairies give us in 
mockery ; only we, when we grow up, are too 
wise to cherish the bag-full. We leave it for 
the wind to scatter, for it is all dead leaves. 
Only you poets hang on to your bag and 
clutch it and carry it with you, making fools 
of yourselves all your lives long, while we 
sturdy fellows in a manly fashion turn to the 
proper things of men in man's -world, and 
take to lawyering and building, and the lend- 
ing of money and horse-doping, and every 
other work that befits a man." 


Grizzlebeard. " And you, Myself, have you 
ever seen the Fairies ? " 

Myself. " I do not think so. I do not 
think I have ever seen them : alas for me ! 
But I think I have heard them once or 
twice, murmuring and chattering, and patter- 
ing and clattering, and flattering and mocking 
at me, and alluring me onwards towards the 
perilous edges and the water-ledges where 
the torrent tumbles and cascades in the high 

The Sailor. " What did they say to you ?'* 

Myself. " They told me I should never get 
home, and I never have." 

As we so talked the darkness began to gather, 
for we had waited once or twice by the way, 
and especially at that little lift in the road 
where one passes through a glen of oaks and 
sees before one great flat water meadows, and 
beyond them the high Downs quite near. 

The sky was already of an apple green to 
the westward, and in the eastern blue there 
were stars. There also shone what had not 
yet appeared upon that windless day, a few 
small wintry clouds, neat and defined in 


heaven. Above them the moon, past her 
first quarter but not yet full, was no longer 
pale, but began to make a cold glory; and 
all that valley of Adur w^as a great and solemn 
sight to see as we went forward upon our 
adventure that led nowhere and away. To us 
four men, no one of whom could know the 
other, and who had met by I could not tell 
what chance, and would part very soon for 
ever, these things were given. All four of us 
together received the sacrament of that wide 
and silent beauty, and we ourselves went in 
silence to receive it. 

• ■ • • • • 

And so when it was full dark we came to 
Henfield, and determined that it was time 
for bread, and for bacon, and for ale — a night 
meal inspired by the road and by the tang 
of the cold. For you must know that once 
again, though it was yet so early in the year, 
a very slight frost had nipped the ground. 

We made therefore for an inn in that 
place, and asked the mistress of it to fry 
us bacon, and with it to give us bread and 
as much ale as four men could drink by her 


judgment and our own ; and while we sat 
there, waiting for this meal, the Sailor said 
to me : 

*' Come now, Myself, since you say that 
you know the County so well, can you tell 
us how Hog is made so suitable to Man ? " 

Grizzlebeard. " Why, no man can tell that, 
for we only know that these things are so. 
But some men say that in the beginning the 
horse was made for man to ride, and the cow 
for man to milk, and the hog for man to 
eat; with wheat also, which was given him 
to sow in a field, just as those stars and 
that waxing moon were given him to lift 
his eyes towards heaven, and the sun to 
give him light and warmth by day. But 
others say that all things are a jumble, 
and that the stars care nothing for us, 
and that the moon, if only the truth were 
known, is a very long way off, and a use- 
less beast (God forgive me I It is not I 
that speak thus, but they I), and that we 
just happened upon horses (which I can well 
believe when I see some men ride), and that 
even that most-perfectly-fitting creature and 


manifestly-adapted-to-man, that hale four- 
footed one, the Hog, was but an accident, and 
is not an end in himself for us, but may, in the 
change of human affairs, be replaced by some 
other more suitable thing. All things are made 
for an end, but who shall say what end ? " 

Myself. " Those who talk thus, Grizzlebeard, 
have not carefully considered the works of 
man, nor his curious ways, which betray in 
him the reflection of his Creator, and mark 
him for an artist. The curing of Hog Flesh 
till it become bacon is a sure evidence of 
the creed. There are those, I know, who 
still pretend that the pin and the needle, 
the hammer and the saw, and even the violin, 
grew up and were fashioned bit by bit, man 
stumbling towards them from experiment to 
experiment. At these atheists I howl, be- 
lieving verily and without doubt that in 
the beginning, when grandfather and grand- 
mother were turned out of Eden, and were 
compelled by some Order in Council or other 
to leave this County (but we are now re- 
turned), they were very kindly presented by 
the authorities with the following : — 


" One tool-box. 
A cock and six hens. 

Some paint and brushes and a tube of sepia. 
Six pencils, running from BB. to 4H. 
Tobacco in a tin. 
A Greek Grammar and Lexicon. 
Half-hours with the best writers of Enjiflish 

verse and prose, excluding thing-um-bob. 
A little printing-press. 
A Bible. 

The Elements of Jurisprudence. 
A compact travelling medicine chest. 
A collection of seeds, with 
A pamphlet that should accompany these, and 
Two Pigs. 

" These last also were saved in the Ark, as 
witness Holy Writ, and one of them later 
accompanied St. Anthony, and is his ritual 
beast on every monument." 

" But all this," said the Sailor, as he began 
eating his bacon, "tells us nothing of the 
curing of pigs, which art, you say, is a proof 
of man's original instruction, and of the in- 
tentions of Providence. 

Myself. "And I said it very truly, for 
how of himself could man have discovered 
such a thing ? There is revelation about it, 


and the seeming contradiction which inhabits 
all mysterious gifts." 

Grizzlebeard. "You mean that there is 
no curing a pig until the pig is dead ? For 
though that is the very moment when our 
materialists would say that he was past all 
healing, yet (oh, marvel !) that is the very 
time most suitable for curing him." 

The Poet. " Well, but beyond the theology 
of the matter, will you not tell us how a 
pig is cured, for I long to learn one useful 
thing in my life." 

Myself. " You will not learn it in the mere 
telling for what says the Philosopher ? * If 
you would be a Carpenter you must do Car- 
penter's work.' However, for the enduring 
affection I bear you, and also for my delight 
in the art, I will expound this thing. 

" First, then, you cut your pig in two, and 
lay each half evenly and fairly upon a smooth 
well-washed board of deal, oak, ash, elm, 
walnut, teak, mahogany, ebony, rosewood, 
or any other kind of wood ; and then, taking 
one such half you put by on one side a 
heap of saltpetre, and gathering a handful of 


this saltpetre you very diligently rub it into 
the flesh, and, rubbing, have a care to rub 
it rubbedly, as rub should, and show your- 
self a master rubber at rubbing. And all 
this you must do on the inside and not on 
the out, for that is all covered over with 

" When, therefore, you have so rubbed in 
a rubbard manner until your rubment is aglow 
with the rubbing, why then desist ; hang up 
your half pig on a hook from a beam, and 
wash your hands and have done for that 

** But next day you must begin again in 
the same manner (having first consecrated 
your work by a prayer), and so on for thirty 
days; but each day a little less than the 
last, until, before the curing is ended, you 
are taking but a tithe of the saltpetre you 
took at the beginning. 

" When all this is over your half pig is 
as stiff as a prude, and as salt as sorrow, and 
as incorruptible as a lawyer, and as tough as 
Tacitus. Then may you lift it up all of one 
piece, like a log, and put it to smoke over 


a wood fire, as the giants did in old time, 
or you may pack it between clean layers of 
straw, as the Germans do to this day, or 
you may do whatever you will, and be 
damned to it ; for no matter what you do, 
you will still have a pig of pigs, and a pork 
perfect, that has achieved its destiny and 
found the fruit of its birth : a scandal to 
Mahound, and food for Christian men." 

The Sailor. " All that you say is true 
enough, but what of the bristles of the pig ? 
What of his hair ? Are not bristles better 
in brushes than in bacon ? " 

Myself. " You speak truth soundly, though 
perhaps a little sharply, when you ask, ' How 
about hair?' For the pig, like all brutes, 
differs from man in this, that his hide is 
covered vidth hair. On which theme also the 
poet Wordsworth, or some such fellow, com- 
posed a poem which, as you have not previ- 
ously heard it, let me now tell you (in the 
fashion of Burnand) I shall at once proceed 
to relate ; and I shall sing it in that sort of 
voice called by Italians ' The Tenore Stridente,' 
but by us a Hearty Stave." 


" The dog is a faithful, intelligent friend, 
But his hide is covered with hair ; 
The cat will inhabit the house to the end. 
But her hide is covered with hair. 

" The hide of the mammoth was covered with wool. 
The hide of the porpoise is sleek and cool. 
But you'll find, if you look at that gambolling fool. 
That his hide is covered with hair. 

" Oh, I thank my God for this at the least, 
I was bom in the West and not in the East, 
And He made me a human instead of a beast. 
Whose hide is covered with hair ! " 

Grizzlebeard {with interest). " This song is 
new to me, although I know most songs. Is 
it your own ? " 

Myself. " Why, no, it's a translation, but a 
free one I admit, from Anacreon or Theo- 
critus, I forget which. . . . What am I say- 
ing ? Is it not Wordsworth's, as we said 
just now ? There is so much of his that is 
but little known ! Would you have further 
verses ? There are many ..." 


The Sailor. *'No." 

Myself. " Why, then, I will immediately 

" The cow in the pasture that chews the cud, 
Her hide is covered with hair." 

The Sailor. "Halt!" 

** And even a horse of the Barbary blood. 
His hide is covered with hair ! 

" The camel excels in a number of ways. 
And travellers give him unlimited praise — 
He can go without drinking for several days — 
But his hide is covered with hair." 

G?izzlebeard. " How many verses are there 
of this ? " 

Myself'. " There are a great number. For 
all the beasts of the field, and creeping things, 
and furred creatures of the sea come into this 
song, and towards the end of it the Hairy Ainu 
himself. There are hundreds upon hundreds 
of verses. 

" The bear of the forest that lives in a pit. 
His hide is covered with hair ; 
The laughing hyena in spite of his wit. 
His hide is covered with hair ! 


" The Barbary ape and the chimpanzee. 
And the lion of Africa, verily he. 
With his head like a wig, and the tuft on his knee. 
His hide . . ." 

Grizzleheard (rising). *' Enough ! Enough ! 
These songs, which rival the sea-serpent in 
length, are no part of the true poetic spirit, 
and I cannot believe that the conscientious 
Wordsworth, surnamed tVxo/ce'^aXof, or Horse 
Face, wrote this, nor even that it is any true 
translation of Anacreon or the shining Theo- 
critus. There is some error! This manner 
of imagining a theme, to which innumerable 
chapters may be added in a similar vein, is 
no part of poetry ! It is rather a camp-habit, 
worthy only of a rude soldiery, to help them 
along the road and under the heavy pack. 
For I can understand that in long marches 
men should have to chant such endless things 
with a pad and a beat of the foot to them, 
but not we. I say enough, and enough I " 

I answered him, getting up also as he had, 
and making ready for the road. " Why, 
Grizzleheard, this is not very kind of you, 
for though you had allowed me but fifteen 


verses more I could have got through the 
Greater Carnivoise, and perhaps, before the 
closure, we could have brought in the Wart 
Hog, who loves not war, but is a Pacifist." 

The Poet {rising also). " It may be so, good 
Myself, but remember that you bear them all 
in store. Nothing is really lost. You will 
rediscover these verses in eternity, and no 
doubt your time in hell will be long enough 
to exhaust, in series, all the animals that ever 

The Sailor (rising last). " Grizzlebeard has 
saved us all 1 " 

With this condemnation of a noble song 
they moved out of doors on to the road, a 
little aimlessly, gazing out towards the high 
Downs, under the now bright-burnished 
moon, and doubtful whither they should 
proceed. Grizzlebeard proposed in a gentle 
fashion that we should go on to an inn at 
Bramber and sleep there, but the Sailor 
suddenly said, " No I " 

He said it with such violence and determi- 
nation that we were all surprised, and looked 
at him with fear. Then he went on : 


" No, we will not go to the inn at Bramber, 
nor breathe upon embers which are now so 
nearly extinguished ; we will not go and 
walk in the woods whence all the laurels have 
been cut away, nor will we return to emotions 
which in their day were perhaps but vaguely 
divine, but which the lapse of time has ren- 
dered sacred. It is the most perilous of human 
endeavours, is this attempt to return to the 
past ; should it fail, it breeds the most woeful 
of human woes. I know as well as you the 
gardens of Bramber, and I, too, have sat 
there eating and drinking upon summer even- 
ings between the last light and the dark. I, 
too, have watched a large star that began to 
show above Buttolph Combe; and I, also, 
have seen the flitter-mice darting above me 
in an air like bronze. Believe me, I have 
heard the nightingale in Bramber, but I will 
not return." 

The Poet "But 1" 

The Sailor. "Be silent! ... I will not 
return. ... It was the best of inns ! . . . 
You talk of the inn at Saint Girons, where 
the wine was good in the days of Arthur 


Young, and is still good to-day — not the same 
wine, but the grandson of the same wine — 
and you speak favourably of that inn under 
the pass coming in from Val Carlos. You 
talk justly of the famous inn at Urgel, known 
as the Universal Inn, from which a man can 
watch under a full moon the vast height of 
the Sierra del Cadi; and you perpetually re- 
peat the praises of the inn at the Sign of the 
Chain of Gold, under a large ruined castle, by 
a broad and very peaceful river in Normandy. 
You do well to praise them, but all these inns 
together could not even stand at the knees of 
what was once the inn at Bramber." 

Myself. "I have never mentioned one of 
these inns 1 " 

The Sailor, "There is not upon earth so 
good a thing as an inn ; but even among 
good things there must be hierarchy. The 
angels, they say, go by steps, and I am very 
ready to believe it. It is true also of inns. 
It is not for a wandering man to put them in 
their order ; but in my youth the best inn of 
the inns of the world was an inn forgotten in 
the trees of Bramber. It is on this account 

(1,665) J 


that I will not return. The famous Tuscan 
inns have tempted many men to praise them, 
some (as I think) extravagantly. And of the 
lesser inns of seaports sailors (though they 
never praise in prose or verse) know and speak 
of the Star of Yarmouth — I mean of Great 
Yarmouth — and the County Inn of the other 
Yarmouth — I mean of Little Yarmouth — 
and especially in loud voices do they commend 
the Dolphin at Southampton, which is a very 
noble inn with bow windows, and second to 
no house in the world for the opportunity of 
composing admirable verse and fluent prose. 
Then also, lying inland one day's march from 
the sea, how many inns have not sailors 
known I Is there not the Bridge Inn of Am- 
berley and the White Hart of Storrington, 
the Spread Eagle of Midhurst, that oldest and 
most revered of all the prime inns of this 
world, and the White Hart of Steyning and 
the White Horse of Storrington and the 
Swan of Petworth, all of which it may 
be our business to see ? They were mortal 
inns, human inns, full of a common and 
a reasonable good ; but round the inn at 


Bramber, my companions, there hangs a 
very different air. Memory bathes it and 
the drift of time, and the perpetual ob- 
session of youth. So let us leave it there. 
I will put up the picture of an early love ; I 
will hear with mixed sorrow and delight the 
songs that filled my childhood ; but I will not 
deliberately view that which by a process of 
sanctification through time has come to be 
hardly of this world. I will not go sleep in 
the inn at Bramber — the gods forbid me. 

" Nay, apart from all of this which you 
three perhaps (and especially the Poet) are 
not of a stuff to comprehend, apart from 
these rare and mysterious considerations, I 
say, there is an evident and an easy reason 
for not stirring the leaves of memory. Who 
knows that we should find it the same ? Who 
knows that the same voices would be heard 
in that garden, or that the green paint on the 
tables would still be dusty, blistered, and 
old ? That the chairs would still be rickety, 
and that cucumber would still be the prin- 
cipal ornament of the feast? Have you not 
learnt in your lives, you two that are one 


young, one middle-aged, and you, the third, 
who are quite old, have you not learnt how 
everything is a function of motion; how aU 
things only exist because they change ? And 
what purpose would it serve to shock once 
more that craving of the soul for certitude 
and for repose? With what poignant and 
terrible grief should we not wrestle if the 
contrast of that which was once the inn at 
Bramber should rise a terrible ghost and 
challenge that which is the inn at Bramber 
now I Of what it was and what it has become 
might there not rise a dual picture before our 
minds — a picture that should torture us with 
the doom of time? I will not play with 
passions that are too strong for men ; I will 
not go sleep to-night at the inn of Bramber. 

" Is not the world full of other inns wherein 
a man can sleep deeply and wake as it were 
in a new world ? Has not heaven set for us, 
like stars in the sky, these points of isolation 
and repose all up and down the fields of 
Christendom ? Is there not an inn at the 
Land's End where you can lie awake in a rest 
that is better than slumber, listening to the 


noise of the sea upon the Longships and to 
the Atlantic wind ? And is there not another 
inn at John o' Groats to which you may 
bicycle if you choose (but so shall not I) ? 
Is there not the nameless inn famous for its 
burgundy in Llanidloes ? Is there no Uni- 
corn in Machynlleth? Are there not in 
Dolgelly forty thousand curious inns and 
strong? And what of the Feathers at Lud- 
low, where men drink so often and so deeply 
after the extinguishing of fires, and of its 
sister inn at Ledbury? And what of the 
New Inn at Gloucester, which is older than the 
New College at Oxford or the New Bridge at 
Paris ? And by the way, if Oxford itself have 
no true inns, are there not inns hanging like 
planets in a circle round the town ? The inns 
of Eynsham, of Shillingford, of Dorchester, of 
Abingdon, the remarkable inn at Nuneham, 
and the detestable inn at Wheatley which fell 
from grace some sixty years ago, and now 
clearly stands for a mark of reprobation to 
show what inns may become, when, though 
possessed of free will and destined to eternal 
joy, they fail to fulfil their hostelarian destiny. 


. . . Yes, indeed, there are inns enough in 
the world among which to choose without 
being forced by evil fate or still more evil 
curiosity to pull out in the organ of the soul 
the deep but — oh ! the fast and inviolable — 
the forbidden stops of resurrection and of 
accomplished loving. For no man may re-live 
his youth, nor is love fruitful altogether to 

Grizzlebeard (musing). " If it were not so 
far I should proceed this very night to the 
Station Hotel at York, which of all the 
houses 1 know is the largest and the most 

The Poet. " And I to the Fish, Dog, and 
Duck where the Ouse comes in to the Cam, 
or to the Grapes on the hills above Cor- 
bridge before you venture upon the loneliness 
of Northumberland ; both excellent inns." 

Myself. "But I, to the sign of the Lion, 
up on Arun, which no man knows but me. 
There should I approach once more the 
ancient riddle, and hear, perhaps, at last, the 
voices of the dead, and know the dooms of 
the soul." 


The Sailor. " You would all three do well. 
For inns are as men and women are, with 
character and fate infinitely diversified, and 
to one an old man goes for silence and repose, 
to another a younger man for adventure or 
for isolation, to a third a poet for no reason 
save to lay up a further store of peevish 
impotence, which is the food upon which these 
half-men commonly feed. So also there are 
inns coquettish, inns brutal, inns obvious, inns 
kindly, and inns strong — each is for a mood. 
But as in every life there is one emotion 
which may not be touched and to which the 
common day is not sufficient, so with inns. 
For me one is thus sacred, which is that inn 
at Bramber. Thither therefore, as I think I 
have said before, I will not go." 

Myself. "Now that all the affectation of 
your talk is spent, 1 may tell you that you 
might have saved your breath, for close at 
hand I kndw of a little house, empty but well 
furnished and full of stores for winter. Sailor 
— I say this to you — the Trolls are not my 
friends. Yet of such little houses all up and 
down the County I alone possess the keys. 


We will go, then, to this httle house of mine, 
for it is not a mile across the water-meadows." 
This we did, and as we passed the wooden 
bridge we saw below us my Uttle river, the river 
Adur, slipping at low tide towards the sea. 

So we went on over the water-meadows. 
It was very cold, and the moon rode over 
Chanctonbury in a clear heaven. We did 
not speak. We plodded on all four, in single 
file, myself leading, along the .narrow path by 
the bare hedge-side. The frost had touched 
the grass, and the twigs of quickset were 
sharp in the moonlight like things engraved 
upon metal. We came out upon the Ashurst 
road. The mill was all sound in those days, 
and the arms of it stood against the sky. 
We walked abreast, but still in silence: the 
Poet slouched and Grizzlebeard let his stick 
trail along the ground, and even the Sailor 
had a melancholy air, though his strong legs 
carried him well. As for me I still pressed 
onwards a little ahead of the line, for I 
knew my goal near at hand, while for my 
three companions it was but an aimless 


trudge through the darkness after a long 
day's journey. So did we near that little 
house which God knows 1 love as well as 
any six or seven little houses in the world. 

We came to the foot of a short hill: tall 
elms stood out against the sky a short way 
back from the road and beyond a little green. 
Beneath them shone the thatch of a vast 
barn, and next it a sight which I knew very 
well . . . the roof and chimney. I turned 
from the road to cross the green, and I took 
from my pocket a great key, and when my 
companions saw this their merriment returned 
to them, for they knew that I had found 
the shelter. 

Grizzlebeard said : " Look how all doors 
in the County open to you ! " 

" Not all," I answered, " but certainly four 
or five." 

I turned the key in the lock, and there, 
within, when I had struck a match, appeared 
the familiar room. The beam of the ceiling 
was a friend to me and the great down- fire- 
place inhabited the room. There, in that 
recess, lay on the dogs and the good pile of 


ashes, a faggot and four or five huge logs of 
cord wood, of oak from the clay of the Weald : 
I lit beneath all these a sheaf of verse I 
had carried about for months, but which had 
disappointed me, and the flames leapt up, 
in shape like leaves of holly. It was a good 
sight to see. 

With the fire humanity returned ; we talked, 
we spread our hands ; one pulled the curtains 
over the long low window of the room, another 
brought the benches near the blaze, benches 
with high backs and dark with age ; another 
put the boards on the trestles before it; 
another lit two candles and stood them in 
their own grease upon the boards. We were 
in a new mood, being come out of the night 
and seeing the merriment of the fire. 

Next we would send to the Fountain for 
drink. For the inn of Ashurst is called the 
Fountain Inn. It is not the Fountain called 
the " Fount of Gold " of which it is written — 

" This is that water from the Fount of Gold — 
Water of youth and washer out of cares." 

The Fountain of Ashurst runs, by God's 
grace, with better stuff than water. 


Nor is it that other Fountain which is 

" Fountain of years and water of things done." 

For though there are honourable years round 
the Fountain of Ashurst, yet most certainly 
there are no regrets. It is not done for yet. 
Binge ! Fountain, binge ! 

Nor is it the Fountain of Vaucluse, nor 
that of Moulton Parva or Thames -head, 
which ran dry when George III. died and 
has never run since : nor the Bandusian 
Spring. No, nor Helicon, which has been 
tapped so often that it gave out about thirty- 
five years ago, and has been muddy ever since. 

Nor is it of those twin fountains, of hot 
water the one and of cold the other, where 
the women of Troy were wont to wash their 
linen in the old days of peace ere ever Greek 
came to the land. 

No, it was none of these but the plain 
Fountain of Ashurst, and thither did we plan 
to send for bread and cheese and for ale with 
which this fountain flows. 

As for whom we should send, it was a 


selection. Not Grizzlebeard, out of the re- 
spect for age, but one of the other three. 
Not I, because I alone knew the house, and 
was busy arranging all, but one of the other 
two. Not the Poet, because, all suddenly, 
the Muse had him by the gullet and was 
tearing him. Already he was writing hard, 
and had verse almost ready for us, and said 
that this sort of cooking should not be 

Therefore it was the Sailor who was sent, 
though he hated the thought of the cold. 

He rose up and said : " When in any 
company one man is found more courageous 
and more merry, more manly, more just, and 
more considerate, stronger, wiser, and much 
more holy than his peers, very generous also, 
yet firm and fixed in purpose, of good counsel, 
kind, and with a wide, wide heart, then if 
(to mention smaller things) he is also of the 
most acute intelligence and the most powerful 
in body of them all, it is he that is made the 
drudge and the butt of the others." 

With that he left us, carrying a great 
two gallon can, and soon returned with it 


full of Steyning ale, and as he put it down he 
said : *' The Fountain runs, but not with com- 
mon water. It shall become famous among 
Fountains, for I shall speak of it in rhyme." 
Then he struck the Poet a hearty blow, and 
asked after the health of his poem. 

TJie Poet. " It is not quite completed." 
The Sailor (sitting down near the fire and 
pouring out the ale). " It is better so I Let 
us have no filling up of gaps. Beware of 
perfection. It is a will-o'-the-wisp. It has 
been the ruin of many." 

Grizzlebeard. " Is there a tune ? " 
The Poet. " There is a sort of dirge." 
Myself. '* Begin to sing." 
The Poet— 

" Attend, my gentle brethren of the Weald, 
Whom now the frozen field 
Does with his caking shell your labour spurn. 
And turn your shares and turn 
Your cattle homeward to their lazy byres ; " 

The Sailor. " Oh I Lord I It is a dirge I 
The man chaunts like old Despair on a fast 
day ! Come let us " 

Myself. "No, the Poet must end; let him 


The Poet, when he had looked reproach- 
fully at the Sailor, filled his lungs a little 
fuller than before, and went on : 

" Your cattle homeward to their lazy byres ; 
Oh ! gather round our fires 
And point a stave or scald a cleanly chum 
The while 

With ritual strict and nice observance near, 
We weave in decent rhyme 
A Threnody for the Departing Year." 

The Sailor. " ' Decent ' is bad ; and you 
cannot have a threnody for something that is 
not dead." 

The Poet {continuing) — 

" And you that since the weary world began. 
Subject and dear to man. 
Have made a living noise about our homes. 
You cows and geese and pigs and sheep and 

all the crew 
Of mice and coneys too 

And hares and all that ever lurks and roams 
From Harting all the way to Bodiam bend. 
Attend ' 

It is a solemn time. 
And we assembled here 
Advance in honourable rhyme 
With ritual strict and nice observance near 
Our Threnody for the Departing Year. 
The year shall pass, and yet again the year 
Shall on our reeds return 
The tufted reeds to hurrying Arun dear. . . ," 


Here the Poet stopped and looked at the fire. 

" Have you made an end ? " said the Sailor 
with a vast affectation of solicitude. 

"I have stopped," said the Poet, "but I 
have not finished." 

" Why, then," said the Sailor, *' let me help 
you on," and he at once began impromptu : 

" As I was passing up your landing towns 
I heard how in the South a goddess lay." 

Then he added : " I can't go on." 
The Poet— 

" She ends our little cycle with a pall." 

Grizzlebeard. " Who does ? " 

The Poet. " Why, that goddess of his ; I 
shall put her in and make her wind it up. 
The Sailor is not the only man here who can 
compose ofF-hand. I promise you . . . 

" She ends our little cycle with a pall : 
The winter snow — the winter snow shall reverently 

On our beloved lands. 
As on Marana dead a winding sheet 
Was laid to hide the smallness of her hands. 
And her lips virginal : 
Her virginal white feet." 

When that dirge had sunk and they, as 


they sat or lay before the fire, had nodded 
one by one, sleep came upon them all three, 
weary with the long day's going and the 
keenness of the air. They had in their minds, 
that All Hallowe'en as sleep took them, the 
Forest of the high -land and the great Weald 
all spread below and the road downward into 
it, and our arrival beneath the nightly majesty 
of the Downs. They took their rest before 
the fire. 

But I was still wakeful, all alone, remem- 
bering All-Hallows and what dancing there 
was in the woods that night, though no 
man living might hear the music, or see 
the dancers go. 1 thought the fire- lit dark- 
ness was alive. So I slipped to the door very 
quietly, covering the latch with my fingers to 
dumb its noise, and I went out and watched 
the world. 

The moon stood over Chanctonbury, so 
removed and cold in her silver that you 
might almost have thought her careless of the 
follies of men ; little clouds, her attendants, 
shone beneath her worshipping, and they 
presided together over a general silence. Her 


light caught the edges of the Downs. There 
was no mist. She was still frosty-clear when 
I saw her set behind those hills. The stars 
were more brilliant after her setting, and deep 
quiet held the valley of Adur, my little river, 
slipping at low tide towards the sea. 

When I had seen all this I went back within 
doors, as noiselessly as I had come out, and I 
picked through the sleepers to my own place, 
and I wrapped myself in my cloak before the 
fire. Sleep came at last to me also ; but that 
night dead friends visited me in dreams. 


^^7*- Li 








s .i 





Next morning 
when I woke 
it was because 
the Poet was 
timidly walk- 
ing about the 
room, making as 
much noise as he 
dared, but unwill- 
ing to be longer 
The fire was out, and the 
small place looked mournful 
under that grey dawn. I 
could see through the win- 
dow that the weather had 
changed and the air was warmer. All the 


sky was hurrying cloud, and there would 
be ram I thought from one time to another 
on that day. But it would be a good day 
I thought, for it was All-Hallows, which 
balances the year, and makes a counter- 
weight, as it were, to All Fools' in her earlier 
part, when she is light and young, and when 
she has forgotten winter and is glad that 
summer is near, and has never heard the name 
of autumn at all, or of the faU of leaves. 

Grizzlebeard also stirred and woke, and 
then, last, the Sailor, rather stupored, and all 
of them looked at me as much as to say: 
" Have you no breakfast here ? " But I, 
seeing what was in their minds, met them 
at once determinedly, and said : 

** In this house we breakfast after the 
fashion of the heroes, our fathers, that is, 
upon last night's beer, and the bread and 
cheese of our suppers. So did they breakfast 
who fought with De Montfort up on Mount 
Harry at the other end of the county six 
hundred years ago and more, when they had 
marched all the day before as it was, and 
were marshalled against the king with the 


morning. Sorely against their will ! For 
there is no fight in a man until it is past 
nine o'clock, and even so he is the better for 
coffee or for soup. But to-day there is no 
fighting, but only trudging, so let us make 
our breakfast thus and be off." 

They were none of them content, but since 
I would have it so and since there was no 
help for it, they drank that stale beer, a mug 
each, with wry faces, and nibbled a little at 
the stale bread. Then we left the rest of the 
loaf and the cheese for the mice, who keep 
house for me there when I am away, and 
frighten off new-comers by pretending that 
they are the spirits of the dead. 

So we went out through the door and 
across the little green to a wobble road that 
is there, and by a way across the fields to 
Steyning, where we should find the high 
road to Washington and Storrington and 
Amberley Bridge, and so over to the country 
beyond Arun and the things we knew. 

As we went south over those fields, with 
the new warmth of the hurrying clouds above 
us and the Downs growing higher and higher, 


the Poet saying what the others had spared 
to say, began to grumble. For he said that 
beer was no breakfast for a man, but give 
him rather tea. 

The Sailor. " Poet, 1 think you must be a 
vegetarian, and very probably (like most men 
of your luxury) you are yet afraid of your 
body — a lanky thing, I grant." 

Myself. " Burn me those men who are 
afraid of the Flesh ! Water-drinkers also, and 
caterwauling outers, and turnip mumblers, 
enemies of beef, treasonable to the imme- 
morial ox and the tradition of our human 
kind ! Pifflers and snifflers, and servants of 
the meanest of the devils, tied fast to halting, 
knock-kneed Baphomet, the coward's god, 
and chained to the usurers as is a mangy 
dog to a blind man I " 

The Sailor. " Come, let us take it up I 
Hunt me them over the hills with horn and 
with hound ! Drive them, harry them, pen 
them, drown them in the river, and rid me 
them from our offended soil ! They are the 
betrayers of Christendom I They are the 
traducers of those mighty men our fathers, 


who upon the woodwork of the Table and 
the Bed, as upon twin pillars, founded the 

Myself. *' Come, Poet, are you not con- 
vinced ? " 

The Poet. " Of what ? That I should have 
a decent respect for my body ? " 

The Sailor. " Respect go hang itself by the 
heels until it gets some blood into its pale face, 
and then take a basting to put life into it ! " 

Grizzlebeard. "Do you not know. Poet, 
that by all these anti-belly tricks of yours you 
would canalise mankind into the trench that 
leads to hell? For there is nothing that 
cannot be made to serve the Master of Evil 
by abuse, nor anything which cannot by a 
just and reasonable enjoyment be made to 
glorify God. Have you any lack of pleasure 
in this rush of the clouds above us. Or does 
he seem to you a niggler, the fellow that 
rides the south-west wind ? " 

The Poet. " What is all this flood of yours, 
you three? What have I said about or 
against the Body ? " 

Myself. "Nay, Poet, but we will tell you 


more than you care to hear! Consider that 
glorious great tube a gun, whence shells may 
be lobbed at such as are worthy of the game. 
Your man that smirks his hatred of war is he 
that potters into the dirty adventures against 
the very weak (but by God's providence his 
aim is damnable), and he is the man that 
fees lawyers to ruin the poor." 

The Sailor. " What all this may have to do 
with the Body! know not. But this I say : Give 
it due honour — treat it well, keep it with care. 
It is a complicated thing — you could not have 
made it, and if you hurt it it is hard to mend. 
. . . Oh, my succinct and honourable Body I 
I cherish you ! you are my friend ! I cannot 
do without you ! On the day I have to do 
without you I shall be all at sea ! With the 
eyes in you do I read books written by women 
with a grievance, and with the ears of you do 
I hear the noise of the vulgarians, and with 
the feet of you do I enter the houses of the 
rich but fly the presence of fools ! Most pro- 
fitable, consistent, homogeneous, and worthy 
Body ! I salute you ; I take comfort in you ; 
I am glad indeed they gave you to me for 


this brief mortal while ! Little Body I Little 
Body I Believe me, were I wealthy I would 
cram you with good things ! Nor was I 
ever better pleased than when I heard from 
a Franciscan in Crawley that when they 
hang me I shall not lose you altogether, but 
that you will return to me some time or 
another; — but when exactly was never fully 
set down. Anyhow, I shall catch on to you 
again and recover you very properly set up 
and serviceable, without bump or boss, a 
humpless, handsome thing ! " 

The Poet. " All this is quite beside the mark, 
and you have vented upon me nothing but 
your temper for lack of breakfast. Never in 
my life have I believed the things which you 
would have me believe, nor said a word 
against this vessel which holds my soul as 
tight as a bottle does a cork, and of which 
I know so much, but of my soul so little, 
though my soul is my only companion." 

Grizzlebeard. *' The Body is a business which 
we all know too well, but the Soul is another 
matter. For I knew a man once (not of 
this county) who said there was no soul, and 


would have proved it. He had once long 
ago by an apparatus of his tried to prove 
there was a soul — but the proof was lacking. 
So next he naturally thought there could be 
no soul, and he set out to prove that on his 
four fingers and his thumb, without gim- 
cracks, pragmatically, and in a manner con- 
vincing to the blind. And he set out with 
an apparatus to find proof that there was 
no soul — but that proof was also lacking. 
So let us have done with all this, and find 
our way through this tall screen of trees to 
Steyning, and to the good house that is 
there, and have something Christian to pre- 
pare us for our road. For the Lord knows that 
Myself and Queen Elizabeth were wrong in 
making small, stale beer and bread a proper 
breakfast for a man. Strong beer and beef 
are the staple." 

The Sailor. *' Besides which All-Hallows is 
a great feast, and feeding goes with feasting. 
We will knock at Myself s door when we are 
next worried by the duty of fasting for some 
great evil to be atoned, or when ugly Lent 
comes round." 


When we had got into the town of Steyn- 
ing, the Sailor, the Poet, Grizzlebeard, and 
I, we went into the inn, hotel, guest-house, 
or hostelry, and there very prettily asked as 
we passed the host that cold meat and ale 
might be served us in the smoking-room. 

But when we got into the smoking-room, 
the Sailor, the Poet, Grizzlebeard, and I, we 
were not a little annoyed to see in a corner of 
the room, crouched up against the fire in a 
jolly old easy-chair, which little suited his 
vile and scraggy person, a being of an un- 
pleasant sort. He had a hump which was 
not his fault, and a sour look which was. 
He was smoking a long churchwarden pipe 
through his sneering lips. There was very 
little hair upon his face, though he did not 
shave, and the ear turned towards us, the left 
ear, had been so broken that it looked pointed, 
and made one shudder. The sneer on his lips 
was completed by the long slyness of his eye. 
His legs were as thin as sticks, and he had 
one crossed over the other ; his boots had 
elastic sides to them, and horrible tags fore 
and aft, and above them were measly grey 


socks thin and wrinkled. He did not turn 
nor greet us as we appeared. 

It was our fashion during this memorable 
walk to be courteous with all men and familiar 
with none — unless you call that familiarity 
when the Poet threw beer at a philosopher to 
baptize him and wake him into a new world, 
as you shall later read. 

We therefore sat awkwardly round the 
edges of the table, the Poet at the end of 
it opposite to the window that gives on the 
stable-yard, Myself next to him at the corner, 
next to me the Sailor, and beyond him 
Grizzlebeard, who seemed the most contented 
of us all, and was in no way put out by 
the blasted being near the fire, but rather 
steeped himself in memories of his own, and 
had eyes that looked further than the walls. 
We, the younger men, drummed our fingers 
a little upon the table till the beer was 
brought in, and then began to wonder what 
wines were kept in so old a house, and the 
Poet and the Sailor alternately told lies ; the 
Poet telling of rare wines he had found in the 
houses of the rich, the Sailor talking of wines 


that never were in ports far off beyond the 
wide peril of the seas. Grizzlebeard, hearing 
them confusedly, said that his father had 
bought a Tokay in 1849 at 204s. the dozen. 
This also was a He. And I, to please them, 
spoke of true wines, notably of that wine 
which comes from the inside of a goat-skin 
in Val d'Aran, Sobrarbe, and the roots of 
Aragon : the vilest and most tonic wine in 
the world, alive with the power of the goat. 

While we thus spoke (in a quiet way so 
as not to offend) the beer came in, and our 
talk drifted on to the price of wines, and 
from that to those who could afford the 
price of wine, and from that to the rich, 
and from that to the very rich. And at 
last the Poet said : 

" I should like to be very rich." 

Whereupon, to the annoyance of us all, 
the nasty fellow next to the fire took his 
long, silly pipe out of his mouth, blew a 
little blue wisp of smoke without body in 
it from his lips, and said : 

" Ugh ! What do you call very rich ? " 

The Poet was by nature a hesitating man, 


and he was frightened by one speaking to 
him unexpectedly — and one so hideous I So 
he said vaguely : 

" Oh I not to have to think of things ; and 
not to be for ever in the jeopardy of honour ; 
to be able to dip when one liked into one's , 
purse and to pay for what one wanted, and 
to succour the needy, and to travel or rest 
at pleasure." Then he added, as men will 
who are of infinite imagination and crammed 
with desires, " My wants are few." 

He was thinking, perhaps, of a great house 
upon an eastern hill that should overlook the 
Mediterranean Sea, and yet be easily in touch 
with London, and yet again be wholly iso- 
lated from the world, and have round it just 
so many human beings as he might wish to 
have there, and all at his command. 

I, sitting next to him, took up the con- 
versation as in a game of cards, and began : 

" That can't be done ! When you are wish- 
ing for wealth you are by the nature of things 
wishing for what man allows and controls. 
You are wishing, therefore " 

*' Don't preach I " said the Person by the 


fire. The Sailor, to make things pleasanter, 
began hurriedly ; 

"If I were very rich I should want a 
number of definite things, as this gentle- 
man said," waving his hands towards that 
gentleman to avoid all unpleasantness, which 
is a way they have in the foc'sle. 

"He didn't say it," I murmured. ** I 
said it." 

Whereat the Sailor kicked vigorously and 
wide under the table by way of hint, and 
caught the Poet, who howled aloud. Then 
only was the Person by the fire moved to 
a single gesture. He looked round sharply 
with his head and a twist of his eyes, not 
changing a muscle of his body, but glanc- 
ing as an animal glances, and moving as an 
animal moves. 

" Go on 1" he commanded. 

The Sailor was a combative man: but he 
mastered himself, and went on gradually ; 

" Oh I I should like to give big dinners 
pretty often and to go to plays." 

Which was a silly sentence, but true 
enough. He corrected it, adding: 

(1,65&) L 


"And I should like to have a jolly little 
house, and five or ten or twenty or thirty, or 
perhaps a hundred acres of land; and there 
would have to be wood upon it. And I 
should hate to be near a railway, so I 
would have a motor; and I must have a 
telephone, but it must not bring people to 
the place, so I would have a private tele- 
phone wire stretching for miles. And one 
must have water on one's place. And I 
should like electric light for the offices, but 
one wants candles for the rooms." 

When he had got thus far the man near 
the fire jerked his head over his shoulder at 
Grizzlebeard. The Sailor stopped astonished, 
and Grizzlebeard, a little frightened I think, 
said rapidly : 

'* Really, I don't know I I don't think I 
want to be very rich. I suppose I am very 
rich by any good standard. My house has 
twenty-three rooms in it, counting the old 
scullery, which is now a cellar. And I 
have quite four acres of dug garden -land, 
and undug land not to be counted. I am 
a gentleman also, and I can put up as 


many of my friends as care to come and 
see me. I have four horses, money in the 
bank, and no debts. I burn my own wood, 
and build with my own timber ; and I 
quarry my stone out of my own ground. 
Really I need no more ! " 

He remembered something, however, and 
he said : 

" It would be a good thing to help the 
nations. It would be a good thing to en- 
franchise the nations which are caught in 
the usurer's hellish web." 

He was silent. Many memories moved in 
him, but he was too old to think that much 
could be done with the world ; and how could 
money do much against the abominations of 
the world ? 

It was the Sailor who found courage 
enough to tackle the Johnnie in the chair. 

" And what would you do," he said aggres- 
sively, " if you were very rich ? " 

The Man in the Chair did not move. 

" I am talking to you, sir," said the Sailor 

** I know that," snarled the Man in the 


Chair in an inhuman way. Then, just be- 
fore the Sailor exploded, he added, 

" I should sit here in this chair smoking this 
pipe with this very tobacco in it and looking 
at this very fire. Thafs what I should do, 
and there would be you four men behind 

** Oh, you would, would you ? " said the 
SaUor. " And how do you know that you 
would be just as you are?" 

" Because I am very rich already," said 
the Man in the Chair in a low metaUic voice, 
fuU of dirty satisfaction. ..." I am exceed- 
ingly rich. I have more money than any 
other man in the large town of the north 
where I was born. Yes, I'm rich enough." 

He leaned forward towards the fire for a 
moment, then he took out a card and tossed 
it to the Sailor. 

" That's my name," he said. And we bade 
him " Good day," and all went out. 

We took the road so as not to go through 
Wiston Park, for though the house there is 
as good a sight as any in England, why, it 
was not ours, and we went past that field 


where the Saint wheeled his mother in a 
wheelbarrow, and cursed the haymakers, so 
that it always rains there in mowing time. 

For he was, as the phrase goes in those 
parts, a Holy Man, and had great power. 
But as he was very poor, no one guessed it. 
And first, in following God, he sold his motor 
to buy a brougham, and then he sold his 
brougham to buy a dog-cart, and then he sold 
his dog-cart to buy a broken down, paint- 
scratched, nasty go-cart ; and then, still serv- 
ing God, not man, he sold his go-cart and his 
nag and bought a wheelbarrow. For some 
thing he must have to take his old mother 
to church in. Now all this happened in 
the year of our Lord 713, just after Sussex 
got the Faith and hundreds of years before 
she lost it again, and a little before St. 
Leonard cursed the nightingales. 

So he was taking his mother to church in 
the wheelbarrow when the haymakers laughed 
at him as he passed, and the Saint said : 
" Laugh men, weep heaven." And immedi- 
ately there fell on that field only two inches 
of rain in half-an-hour, and that on the two- 


day swathes all ready for Tedding, and Lord I 
how they did curse and swear! And from 
that day to this, whether hay time come in 
May month or in June, it rains in the hay time 
on that one field. 

Now when we had gone about a mile from 
Steyning and had so turned into the Wash- 
ington Road, the Sailor bethought him of 
the card, and pulled it out, and there was 
written — 

Mr. Deusipsenotaviti 


The Sailor looked at it right away up, and 
upside down, and sideways, and held it up 
to the light so as to look through it as well, 
and then said : 

" It is a foreign name." 

Grizzlebeard took it from him, and after a 
close view of it said : 

" It is a Basque name : it is agglutinative." 

And we all went on to Washington, talking 
of a thousand things. 


As we so talked there came over the edge 
of the high hills that stood like a wall above 
us, and from the hurrying clouds before the 
south-west wind, the first drops of rain, and 
the Poet said : 

" What ! Must we go forward on this road 
although it is raining ? " 

The Sailor. "Yes, Ninny-lad, most cer- 
tainly I What else were roads made for but 
to give a man hard going over wet land ? " 

The Poet. " Well, I say there is a time for 
everything, and rain-time is not the time for 
walking on a road." 

The Sailor. ** Why, then, you mean that 
autumn days, such as these, are not to be 
taken at their full measure, nor to give us 
their full profit, but that we are to go down 
to dry death without knowing the taste of 
Sussex air in the rain ? " 

The Poet. " No, I say it aloud, there are 
days for everything, although we do not 
know the reason why, and that is why I never 
will be shaved on a Sunday, for I count it 

" You may have noticed up and down Eng- 


land some men with nasty little undergrowths 
upon their upper lips alone, and others with 
great wild beards like Grizzlebeard here, and 
others with moth-eaten beards as it were — the 
worst of all; depend upon it they shaved, 
each of them, at some time or another of a 

" It is a day of rest, and there is no labour 
like shaving. It is a day of dignity, and there 
is no grimacing, sour-faced, donnish occupa- 
tion like that of shaving. So I say : ' There is 
a day for everything, and everything has its 
lucky time except burial.' " 

Myself. " There now ! And that was the 
very thing I was going to say had its most 
varying days! For does not the old rhyme go: 

' Buried on Monday, buried for health, 
Buried on Tuesday, buried for wealth ; 
Buried on Wednesday, buried at leisure, 
Buried on Thursday, buried for pleasure ; 
Buried on Friday, buried for fun, 
Buried on Saturday, buried at one.' " 

The Sailor. "Why?" 

Myself. "There you show yourself what 
you are, a man that follows the sea. For on 


land here we knock off work at twelve on 
Saturday — that is parsons, gravediggers, 
coffin-carriers, mourners, and the rest, who 
very wiUingly dispose of the dead between 
seven and five of a week day, but do claim 
their half-holiday. But you sailors may claim 
your half till you are black in the face, another 
disposes of your time I And even if a law 
were passed that you should loll about from 
eight bells on Saturday noon to the dog 
watch of Monday, as we do on land, that 
other would tickle you up with a snorter 
before you had lit your pipes. Tumble up 
there the lot ! Watch ? I'll watch you, 
watch or no watch ! Tumble up there and 
take it lively! Run up and clew them in 
till your hands freeze I Pull, you lubbers, 
pull ! Squirm over the yard like a row of 
tumblers at a fair, and make fast and be 
damned to you ! Better for you than for me. 
" Then the song goes on (for us jolly people 
on land ; as for you at sea, you may die and 
drown as you will) : 

' Buried on Sunday after eleven, 
You get the priest and you go to heaven.* " 


Grizzlebeard. " This is rank folly, for abso- 
lution is for living men." 

Myself. " There you go, Grizzlebeard, verba- 
lising and confumbling, and chopping logic 
like the Fiend I exegetic and neo-scholastic, 
hypograstic, defibulating stuff! An end to 
true religion ! Soft, old man, soft ; the bless- 
ing over a coffin does no man any harm, and 
is a great solace to uneasy spirits. You are 
for ever running into the very gate of heresy 
with your determinations. It is a bad and a 
feverish state you have fallen into. Make 
amends while you yet have time I Or perhaps 
when you come to die you shall have no 
candles round your coffin and no large black 
cloth over it spangled with silver tears, and no 
bishop to sprinkle it; nay, who knows, not 
even a monk nor a parish priest, nor so much 
as a humble little curate from the castle. 

" When death is on you, Grizzlebeard, I 
would have you write out in large black 
letters on a big white board, ' This man 
BELIEVED,' and hang it round your neck 
and so die. In this way there will be no 


** For errors are made in this matter I assure 
you, and one man, though secretly devout (he 
came from near my own farm), was by such an 
error buried anyhow and in common fashion 
with prayers only, so that he had to haunt 
Normans (as they called the house) on the 
Dial Post Road. And a job it was, I can 
tell you ! For the people in that house 
feared ghosts, and when he walked, though 
he walked never so gently, they would give 
great blood-curdling shrieks, such as threw 
him into a trembling and a sweat — poor 
spirit I — until the ghost-masters who set the 
uncomforted dead such tasks had mercy on 
him, and let him go haunt the Marine 
Parade at Worthing, where no man minded 

The Poet. "Then how was he rested at 

Myself. " Why, in the usual fashion ; by 
the drawing of a pentagon upon the sand and 
the sacrificing in its middle of a pure white 
hen. I have done." 

The Sailor. " It is as well, for it has stopped 


And so it had. To our comfort and the 
changing of our minds. 

• .•••• 

So all along the road under Chanctonbury, 
that high hill, we went as the morning 
broadened : along a way that is much older 
than anything in the world : a way that leads 
from old Pevensey Port through the Vale of 
Glynde and across Cuckmere and across Ouse, 
and then up to the height of Lewes, and then 
round the edge of the Combe, and then down 
on to the ledge below the Downs, making 
Court House and Plumpton Corner, West 
Meston, Clinton, and Hollow Pie Combe 
(though between these two it branches and 
meets again, making an island of Wolstonbury 
Hill), and then on by Poynings and Fulking 
and Edburton, and so to the crossing of the 
water and the Fort of Bramber, and so along 
and along all under the Downs until it passes 
Arun at Houghton Bridge, and so by Bury 
and Westburton, and Sutton and Duncton, 
GrafFham and Cocking, and Diddling and 
Harting — all Sussex names and all places 
where the pure water having dripped through 


the chalk of the high hills, gushes out in 
fountains to feed that line of steadings and 
of human homes. By that way we went, by 
walls and trees that seemed as old as the old 
road itself, talking of all those things men 
talk of, because men were made for speech 
and for companionship, until we came to the 
cross-roads at Washington ; and there, said 
I to my companions: 

Myself. " Have you heard of Washington 

Grizzlebeard. " Why, yes, all the world has 
heard of it ; and when Washington the Vir- 
ginian, a general overseas, was worriting his 
army together a long time ago, men hearing 
his name would say : ' Washington ? . . . 
Washington ? . . . I know that name.' Then 
would they remember the inn at Washing- 
ton, and smile. For fame is of this character. 
It goes by the sound of names." 

The Poet. " For what, then, is the inn of 
Washington famous ? " 

The Sailor. '* Not for a song, but for the 
breeder of songs. You shall soon learn." 

And when he had said that we all went in 


together, and, in the inn of Washington, we 
put it to the test whether what so many men 
had sung of that ale were true or no. But 
hardly had the Sailor put his tankard down, 
when he cried out in a loud voice : 
" It is true, and I believe I " 
Then he went on further : '* Without any 
doubt whatsoever this nectar was brewed in 
the waxing of the moon and of that barley 
which Brutus brought hither in the first 
founding of this land 1 And the water 
wherein that barley-corn was brewed was 
May-day dew, the dew upon the grass before 
sunrise of a May-day morning. For it has all 
the seven qualities of ale, which are : — 

K Aleph = Clarity, 

3 Beth = Savour, 

3 Gimel = A lively hue, 

*i Daleth = Lightness, 

n He = Profundity, 

) Vau = Strength retained, 
and lastly, t Zayin, which is Perfection and The 

" It was seeking this ale, I think, that 
Alexander fought his way to Indus, but 


perished miserably of the colic in the flower 
of his age because he did not find it. 

*' Seeking this ale, I think it was, that moved 
Charlemagne to ride both North and South, 
and East and West, all his life long in those 
so many wars of his whereof you may read in 
old books; for he lived to be two hundred 
years and more, and his bramble beard became 
as white as sea-foam and as tangled, and his 
eyes hollow with age. And yet he would not 
abandon the quest for Mitchell's Ale which 
they sell at Washington : but he could not 
find it, and so died at last of chagrin. 

" And hearing of this ale from a FamiUar, 
Aldabaran sought Saragossa in disguise, and 
filled ten years full, planning and devising 
how to get it from the Emir of El Kazar, 
who was in league with the Evil One ; then, 
in the very moment of his triumph, and as 
he was unlocking that cellar door, a guardian 
slave slew him with a sword, and his soul 
went forth, leaving the cask untasted. 

" So also St. OfFa, of Swinestead in Mercia, 
fainting at the thought of this ale which 
tempting demons had let him smell in a 


dream, was near to missing his salvation. He 
left his cell and went out beyond Kent, over 
the narrow seas into the Low Countries, and 
wandered up and down for seven years, until 
at last he went distracted and raving for lack 
of the liquor. But at last he was absolved at 

" Then you have that Orlando, whose fury 
was aroused by nothing else but a passionate 
need for this same brew. For he had led a 
peaceful life as a cobbler in Upper Beeding 
until he heard by chance of this ale, and 
immediately he set out to seek it, and in so 
doing was led to all his heroic deeds and also 
to wounds and dissolution at last, and died 
without ever putting his lips to the tankard. 

*' Shall I make mention of Gastos or of 
Clemens ? Of Artaxerxes, of Paulus or Ramon, 
who all expected and desired this thing in 
vain ? Or recall Praxiteles or Zeno his cousin, 
Periscopolos the Pirate, Basil of Cyrene, or 
Milo ? They also wasted themselves upon 
that same endeavour. But to me who am 
nobler than them all, it has been granted to 
drink it, and now I know that it resolves 


all doubts, and I shall go to my great death 
smiling. It is the satisfaction of all yearnings, 
and the true end of all philosophies. Of 
the Epicurean, for it is a final happiness. Of 
the Stoic, for it leaves me indifferent to every 
earthly thing. Of the Hegelian, for it is It. 
And I see in the depths of it, the conclusion 
of desire and of regret, and of recollection and 
of expectation, and of wonder. This is that 
of which the great poets sang when they said 
that time itself should be dissolved, of which 
the chief of them has written : 

* Till one eternal moment stops his powers : 
Time being past then all time past is ours.' 

It is indeed good beer; and when we leave 
our valleys we will all drink it together in 

Grizzlebeard. " You are right." 
The Poet. " Yes, you are." 
Myself. " We are all right together." 
Grizzlebeard. " It is little wonder that for 
such as this or worse, the Sons of the Acheans 
fought ten long years round Troy, or that, 
nourished by this royal thing, the men of 

(1,665) M 


Sussex in old time defeated all their foes, 
and established themselves firmly upon this 
ancient land." 

Myself, " Yes, indeed ! Cadwalla, who was 
the fiirst King of Sussex to learn the true 
Faith, and who endeared himself for ever to 
St. Wilfrid and to the Pope, by giving to 
the one ten thousand, but to the second 
twenty thousand barrels of this most admir- 
able and impossible -to -be -too -much -praised 
Cervisian nectar (you may find his tomb in 
Rome), was moved to extend our power 
right over sea, even to the Isle of Wight. 
When he had subdued that land, he took the 
twb princes that were the heirs to its throne, 
and put them to death. And he conquered 
all Sussex and all Kent and was mighty 
before his thirtieth year — all on the ale of 
Washington, Mitchell's Ale of the Washington 
Inn ! Of such potency it was I " 

I looked through the window as I so con- 
cluded, and there again had come the storms 
of rain. 

*' We will not start," I said. *' It is rain- 


The Poet. " But just now . . ." 

Myself. " Oh, Poet I will you also be teasing 
us with logic, or have you not learnt in your 
little life how one man may drive off for a 
game a whole drove of horses, while another 
may not so much as glance over a little 
new set maple hedge no higher than his 
knee ? So it is ! Let us hear no more of 
justice and the rest, but sit here snug in 
the middle of the world, and make Grizzle- 
beard do the talking. He has lived longest 
and knows most, yet has he given us neither 
a story nor a song." 

" You have told us," said Grizzlebeard 
wilUngly enough, "the story of Cadwalla, 
who had that fine imperial instinct in him 
which made him chafe even within the wide 
limits of his Sussex kingdom, and sail over 
the sea with that great expedition of his to 
conquer and annex the Isle of Wight, the two 
princes, heirs to which, he also very imperially 
murdered. Your story made me think of all 
those other times in history when the armies 
and the banners of this immortal county have 
shown themselves in distant lands." 


The Sailor. "It is interesting that you 
should know so much, dear Grizzlebeard, but 
those are far-off things, and we have no true 
record of them." 

Myself. "Yet, Grizzlebeard, since you are 
upon this topic, I very often have much 
desired to know how it is that this county 
of ours seems everywhere to exceed its natural 
boundaries, and to have planted a foot north, 
east, and west in the territory of others; 
guarding itself, as it were, by bastions and 
belts of territory not its own, and preserving 
them as symbols and guarantees of its great 
military power." 

The Poet. " Nay, doubtless, the county of 
Sussex would have expanded southward were 
it not that it was there contained by the sea, 
which will brook no man's foot." 

The Sailor. "Say rather that there was no 
annexation southward, because the salt sea, 
being unharvested, there was nothing worth 
annexing; but, even as it is, the fishermen 
of Sussex will not have foreigners prying 
about in their preserves, and from the Owers 
Bank right away to Dungeness, if you will 


hail a fishing-boat at night he will answer 
you in the Sussex way. Nor are men of 
strange seaboards tolerated in that sea." 

Myself. " I still desire to ask you, Grizzle- 
beard, since you are the oldest of us, and 
have in your house so many papers and 
records, not to speak of in your mind so 
many ancient traditions of this inviolate land, 
how is it that Sussex has sovereignty over 
and beyond the marsh of the Rother, and 
over and beyond the ridge of hills wherein 
take their rise the Adur, the Arun, and 
the Ouse ? For I have often looked at that 
flat piece without any boundary of its own 
beyond Crawley, in which all the men seem 
to be Surrey men, and which I yet notice 
to be marked Sussex upon the map. How 
comes it that we are the masters not only 
of our own rivers, but also of the head 
waters of the Snouzling Mole, the Royal 
Medway, and other lesser streams ? " 

" It so happens," answered Grizzlebeard, 
with immense satisfaction, " that I can answer 
that question. For this great thing was 
done at about the time when the tyrant 


Napoleon was pursuing his petty ambitions 
among the beggarly nations of the Continent, 
and it had its origin and spring in that most 
beloved part of this beloved county whence 
I also take my being, and where I also was 
born — I mean the parts round about Hail- 
sham, where the flats invite the sea. There 
has the fate of our county been twice decided. 
And since also the full story of the Great 
Fight has been preserved in the diaries and 
records of my own family, I am well fitted 
to tell it to you. For the next few hours 
I will retail it. Though the rain passes over 
and the sun comes out, still shall I go on, for 
it is a favourite of mine. I will go on and 
on, and relate unendingly the same while you 
yawn and stretch ; nay, though you implore 
me to cease or attempt to coerce me, yet 
shall I continue the story until I have com- 
pleted it. 

" You must know, then, that the king who 
was over Sussex at that time being then in 
the fortieth year of his age and the twenty- 
second of his reign, a man not only august 
but universally loved, and one very tender 


to the consumers of malt liquor, but a strict 
governor of brewers (God rest his soul I), a 
song arose in those parts concerning the 
tyrant Napoleon and his empty boasting, that 
when he had conquered Prussia, Russia, 
Bornesia, Holland, all Italy and Spain, he 
would challenge the power of Sussex itself 
before he had done with warfare; and this 
song, let me tell you, ran as follows." 

With this Grizzlebeard, clearing his aged 
throat, tunefully carolled out the following 
manly verse in the tune to which all Sussex 
songs have been set, without exception, since 
the beginning of time — the tune which is 
called "Golier." 

" If Bonaparte 
Shud zumraon d'Eart 
To land on Pevensey Level, 
I have two sons 
With our three guns 
To blarst un to the de-e-vil." 

** It is," continued Grizzlebeard, when the 


long-drawn notes of the challenge had died 
away, " a very noble and inspiring song, 
compared with which * To the North, Merry 
Boys,' is but music-hall blare, and the ' Mar- 
seillaise ' a shrieking on a penny whistle. 

*'Now this song," he continued, "being of 
its right virtue and glory a hymn that could 
not but spread far among men, travelled all 
over our county, being known and com- 
mented on in Lewes in the king's own castle, 
and eastward all along the beach to Hastings, 
and beyond that to the banks of Brede and 
over Brede to Rother, which was in those 
days the boundary of this land ; for we had 
not then begun to give laws to East Guild- 
ford, on the left bank of the river mouth. 

" As luck would have it, it travelled, per- 
haps in the speech of pedlars, or printed as 
a broadside and sold from their packs, all 
up the valley of Rother and up among the 
Kentish men, and was soon known in Apple- 
dore. Small Hythe, and so on, right up to 
Goudhurst itself, which stands upon a hill. 
And here it was that ill-fortune lay in wait 
for the Kentish men, who had always been 


a proud lot and headstrong, though relying 
upon St. Thomas of Canterbury and other 
worthies, and furiously denying that they 
had tails. For they had no more humour 
about them than you will find in a cathedral 
verger, and so much for Kent. 

" Well, then, by the time this great song 
had come up on to Goudhurst, where it stands 
upon its hill, the Kentish men in their pride 
and folly, or perhaps only in their ignorance 
(for I would not do them wrong), turned it to 
suit their own purpose and vanity and had 
begun to sing it thus: 

' If Bonaparte 
Shud zummon d'Eart 
To land on Pevensey Level, 
There are three men 
In Horsemonden 
Will blarst un to the de-e-vil.' 

"Which corruption and degradation of so 
great a strain they very frequently repeated 
over their cups at evening in the security of 
their inland homes. 

** Now, when news of this came into Sussex 
and reached the king, where he sat in his 
castle of Lewes, considering his own great- 


ness and the immensity of the world, he 
could scarcely believe his ears. For that 
the Kentish men should sing songs of their 
own and even put on airs when it so suited 
them, nay, timorously raid over Rother to 
pinch a pig when the good-man was from 
home, he thought tolerable enough ; but 
that they should take the song which was, 
as it were, the very heart of Sussex, and 
turn it to their own uses, was, he thought, 
quite past bearing, and, indeed, as I have 
said, he could hardly credit it. 

" So he very courteously sent a herald 
mounted upon a Uttle brown donkey and 
beautifully apparelled, who came to the 
King of Kent, where he sat or rather 
sprawled at meat in Canterbury. And this 
herald, blowing his trumpet loudly in the 
King of Kent's ear, delivered him the letter 
of the King of Sussex, and spurring round 
his steed, very gallantly capered away. 

"The King of Kent, as you may well 
believe, was quite unable to read, but there 
is no lack of clerks in Canterbury, so he 
had one brought, who trembling broke open 


the seal whereon were stamped the arms of 
Sussex, and read to his master as follows : 

" * Brother Kent : We hear, though we 
will not believe it, that certain of your 
subjects (without your knowing it, we will 
swear) have taken to their own use our 
private anthem, and are singing it wantonly 
enough in Goudhurst and sundry other of 
your worthy hamlets; and that, not content 
with this usurpation of our sovereign right 
and of the just possessions of our dear 
people (we are even told, though our soul 
refuses to entertain it), they have so murdered, 
changed, and debased this Royal Hymn as 
to use it in praise of their own selves, and 
in particular of a steading and sties called 
Horsemonden, of which neither we nor we 
think any other man has ever heard. 

" * We do you, therefore, to wit, by these 
presents, brother Kent, that you do instantly 
command and proclaim by heralds through- 
out your dominions that under pain of 
horrible torture and death this practice shall 
immediately cease, if, indeed, we are rightly 
informed that it has arisen. 


" ' Greetings and fraternal benedictions. — 
Given by us in our castle of Lewes on the 
first day of the October brewing, in the year 
3010 since Brutus landed from Troy and 
laid the foundations of our house. — (Signed) 

"The King of Kent when this message 
was read to him ordered the unhappy priest 
to immediate execution (as is the custom in 
that county when they deal with clerics), 
but no sooner had he done so than he re- 
gretted the act, for not knowing how to write 
he must needs dictate another letter. So he 
sent for another priest, who was a long time 
coming, but when he came bade him write 
as follows : 

" * Brother Sussex, a word in your ear : 
We may not be book-larned, but we will 
stand no nonsense, and so sure as hops are 
hops we will, with some small fragment of 
our forces, but sufficient to the purpose, come 
up into your land and harry it, and burn 
down the steadings and the ricks and carry 
away all the pigs and cattle; and we will 
storm your castle, and we will put a new 


Bishop in Chichester in the place of your 
Bishop, and we will put our reeves into 
Midhurst, Horsham, Arundel, and other 
places, and as for your Koyal seat there 
we will put our own nephew upon it. But 
as for you we will keep you in chains. — 

" This letter he despatched to the King of 
Sussex, who when he received it conceived it 
impossible to avoid war. 

"Yet he hoped in his honourable and 
gentle heart that this last extremity should 
be avoided, and he sent yet another letter, 
putting it in words even more fair and 
mannerly than the first, saying that he de- 
sired no more than peace with his due 
rights and honour ; and this letter he sent 
by a herald as he had sent the first. But 
this second herald the King of Kent put 
to death, so that now there was no choice 
but to take arms. So the King of Sussex 
summoned his army to meet him within 
fourteen days in the courtyard of the best 
inn of Lewes, which was in those days 
called the Turk's Head, but has since been 


destroyed by those wicked men who hate 
inns and all other good and lovable things. 
Marshalling his army there, and seeing to 
their accoutrements and putting them in 
good heart, he took the road for Brede, 
and posted himself upon the height of that 
hill which has ever since been called Battle, 
facing towards the rising sun. 

"The day was the 14th of October, the 
hearts of all were merry and high, and 
every man was prepared to do most dread- 
ful things. But how the fight was joined, 
and how it went, and of the wonderful 
deeds done in it and of its imperishable 
effects I must next tell you." 

The Poet. "I should hke to hear the 
Kentish version of this tale." 

"You must know, then, that the King of 
Sussex, being thus posted a little before sun- 
rise upon the hill now called Battle, and look- 
ing eastward over Brede, he first harangued 
all his men in proper fashion, and drew them 
up with skill into a line, urging them what- 
ever they did not to break their rank until 
they should have defeated the enemy, which, 


when they had accomplished it, they were 
free to pursue. And having so spoken he 
observed coming across the valley the forces 
of his enemy, the King of Kent, armed with 
long hop-poles, and carrying themselves in very 
fierce demeanour. Nay, as they marched they 
most insolently sang the song which was the 
cause of all this quarrel ; and the Horsemonden 
contingent in particular, which was in the van, 
or place of honour, gave forth with peculiar 
violence the new lines they had composed to 
their own glory. 

"Though this sight, as you may imagine, 
was malt vinegar and pickles to the men of 
Sussex, they stirred not a foot, and they said 
not a word, but in a grim and determined 
manner did they turn up the sleeves of their 
right arms, spit into their palms, and very 
manfully clench their ash-plants, wherewith 
they did thoroughly determine to belabour 
and bang the invaders of their happy homes. 
And there should be mentioned, in particular, 
the men of Hailsham, my dear native place, 
who on that day carried ash-plants so heavy 
and huge that ten men of our time could 


hardly carry one, though they should stagger 
under it as builders do under a scaffolding 

" Now the men of Kent began to climb the 
hill, the men of Sussex watching them silently 

Keutr cuici 

;* bifMc^kiKb 

from above, and being most careful in their 
order to preserve all due regard, and not to 
walk upon the ornamental beds, or to disturb 
the shrubberies of the kind gentleman who 
had permitted them to draw up their line in 
the grounds of Battle Abbey. For in those 
gardens, note you, is the position which all 
the great generals of his staff had pointed out 


to the King of Sussex, saying that it was 
* a key,' and though he could make no sort of 
guess what that might mean, there had he 
drawn up his array. 

" When the men of Kent felt the steepness 
of the hill, their song died away ; they began 
to pufF and to blow ; and their line, which they 
had ordered like so many cattle drovers, was 
all to pieces, so that while the first of their 
men, and the leanest, were already approach- 
ing the men of Sussex, the last were still tying 
up their shoe-laces at the bridge, or arguing 
with the little old man in green corduroy 
who kept the level-crossing over the railway. 
For he was assuring them that a train was 
signalled, and that their advance was most 
dangerous ; but they were protesting that if 
he would but let them through the wicket 
gate, which stands by the side of the great 
railway gates, they could pop across before it 

" This disarray and grievous lack of general- 
ship in the ranks of Kent was the ruin of that 
force, seeing that it is laid down in all books 
of military art that if a line be broken it has 

(1,656) ^ 


lost its strength. But, as you may guess, the 
art was all on our side, the folly and misfor- 
tune upon that of our enemies, whom the God 
of Battles had already devoted to a complete 

" For when the first arrivals of them came 
to the crest of the hiU, all puffed and blown 
with their climbing, some were banged in the 
face, others swiped upon the sides, others 
heavily pushed in the chest, and others more 
painfuUy caught upon the point of the chin. 
Others again were blinded by stout blows in 
the eye, or turned silly by clever cuts upon 
the corner of the jaw, whangs upon the noddle, 
and other tactical feats too numerous to men- 
tion. For our king, and yet more his staff, and 
generals and quartermasters too, were great 
masters of the art of war. In this skilful 
manner, then, were the foremost men of Kent 
sophist ically handled, until at last the whole 
score of them (for the vanguard were at least 
of that number) broke and ran for cover, and 
by that action threw into a confusion and 
stampede the other hundred or so who were 
still straggling up the hill. Nor was there any 


heart left in the men of Kent save in the 
mouths of a few (and their king was one of 
them), who, having taken refuge in an upper 
room of the inn that stands by Brede, shouted 
out mingled encouragement and menace, and 
bade the fighters in the road below play the 
man. But these men, considering rather the 
banging they were getting than the words of 
their commanders up there in safety, altogether 
and at one moment fled, bunched into one 
lump, very frightened and speedy, and spread- 
ing rumours that their pursuers were not men 
but devils. And as they ran they threw 
their hop-poles down to give them greater 
speed, and some cast off their coats, and 
many more lost their hats as they ran, and in 
general they fell into a rout and confusion. 

" As you may imagine, the men of Sussex 
had by this time the word of command to fall 
upon them and spare them not at all. Which 
order they obeyed, belabouring the men of 
Kent vilely with their ash-plants, and herding 
and harrying and shepherding them together 
into the narrow pass of the level-crossing, 
where they all pushed and screamed, and, 


especially those on the outermost part who 
were the recipients of the ash-plant blessing, 
showed an immoderate eagerness to be off. 

" At last the train of which I spoke having 
passed, and the little man in green corduroy 
who kept the level-crossing having consented 
to open the gates, they all poured through in 
a great stream, tearing for their lives with one 
half of the men of Sussex after them, pursuing 
and scattering the foe in every direction, while 
the other half remained behind in Brede, for a 
purpose I will presently tell you. 

" The men of Kent then being broken and 
dispersed all over that countryside, some took 
refuge in Egham Wood, and others fled to 
Inkpin, and the more stalwart but not the 
more brave worked round as best they could 
to Robertsbridge, while a dozen or more ran 
to earth in Staplecross. So all that country- 
side was strewn with hiding and crouching 
men, some of whom got away and some of 
whom were taken prisoners, but none of whom 
re-formed nor showed themselves able to rally. 

" Meanwhile their king and his staff, being 
surrounded in that inn, surrendered upon 


terms which the King of Sussex in his high 
and generous heart would not make too 

" The first article, then, of this treaty was 
that for every prisoner released the Treasury 
of Kent should pay the sum of one shilling, 

^^.^..1.4. T..^. 

. HUM \\m/ mihiLLs : 

unless he were a Kentish gentleman, and for 
him the ransom was half-a-crown. And until 
the money should be paid the prisoners should 
be held. 

" Then the second article was that the men 
of Kent should pay to the King of Sussex 
100 pockets of hops a year by way of tribute, 
which custom was continued even to our own 
time, nor did it cease until hops became 


so cheap that no one would be at the pains 
of carrying them to Lewes from the Sussex 

" But the third article, which more concerns 
us, was that the right bank of Rother from 
over against Wittersham, so over the canal 
and then down the wall of Wallingmarsh, 
and so right to the sea coast, should pass 
from the Crown of Kent to the Crown of 
Sussex, and be held by the King of Sussex 
and his heirs for ever. And so it stands to this 
day. And to this new frontier land the King 
of Sussex gave the name of Guildford Level, 
because it was indeed level, and in honour 
of the town of Guildford in Surrey, which 
was his mother's dower. And he built there 
East Guildford, and founded it and endowed 
it. But it never throve ; so that when men 
talk of Guildford they commonly mean Guild- 
ford in Surrey as being the larger of the two 
towns. And the King of Sussex built a 
hghthouse in this new province for mariners, 
and having now both sides of Rye harbour, 
he deepened it and dredged it so that it 
became the royal place you know, and far 


out at sea, where the Fairway begins, he set 
an old broom fast in the sand by the broom- 
stick, with the besom end of it above the 
waters, so that no man might miss the 
Fairway, and there it still stands, a blessing 
to mariners. 

"When the King of Sussex had done all 
these things he went back home to his castle 
of Lewes, but not before he had most royally 
dined and entertained his army in the inn at 
Battle, and caused to be broached for them 
1732 barrels of that exceedingly old ale, 
called Audit Ale, the memory of which is 
preserved in those parts most wonderfully. 

" This is the story of how the men of Kent 
were conquered by the men of Sussex and 
Guildford Level and the marsh were annexed 
and made a bastion, as it were, of our 
kingdom. And on account of this great fight 
it is that Battle is called Battle, and not at 
all on account of that other skirmish with the 
Normans, in which we so thoroughly de- 
feated them also, that they turned their backs 
to the Weald, and ran off as best they could 
to Dover and the mean places of the East. 


For we would never have William for our 
king, and we never did. But he is Duke 
William for us, and Duke William only now 
and for ever. Amen 1 " 

The Poet. "It is possible the men of Kent 
would tell a different story I " 

Myself. " But that does not tell us the way 
in which we got hold in this county of all the 
parts about Crawley, and the belt of land 
which is very manifestly that of Surrey men." 

Grizzlebeard. " Why, that was what they 
call strategical. When the barons of Surrey, 
the chief of whom lived in a hole under 
Reigate Hill, heard of the Battle and knew 
of what stuff the King of Sussex was and 
all his men, they came of their ovsm accord 
and asked him to hold that belt of land 
in which their rivers rise, so as to have the 
better protection. To this he very willingly 
agreed, and in this fashion was the northern 
boundary of Sussex drawn." 

Myself. " And it has stopped raining." 

The Sailor. " And may it never rain again, 
for while it rains we sit here in inns and 
hear nothing but interminable stories." 


When he had said that, we all got up and 
took the road again, desiring to be in Stor- 
rington for lunch, for the weather had a good 
deal delayed us. 

So we went on along that same old road, 
always westward, until we came to Storring- 
ton, and there we went into the inn called 
"The White Horse," and when we got in 
there fatigue came upon us and a sort of 
gloom, and a quarrelling temper, such as 
men will get up between them when they have 
been penned together for too long, even if 
they have been out upon a broad high road, 
and have played the part of companions. 

As we sat thus together, the Sailor, the 
Poet, Grizzlebeard and I, gloomily consider- 
ing the workedness-out of all things, and the 
staleness of experience, there came in quite 
suddenly a very tall young gentleman, less than 
thirty years of age, lean, and having a thin- 
nish light moustache, more turned up on one 
side than on the other. His eyes were kindly 
and wild, and from beneath his hat, which 
was tilted on the back of his head, appeared 
over his high forehead wisps of grey-brown 


hair. He had on white leather breeches ; he 
was booted and spurred ; his tail coat was 
grey, with metal buttons upon it, and round 
his throat instead of a collar was a soft piece 
of cloth, which had once been carefully 
arranged, but which was now draggled. It 
was fastened by a safety-pin made of gold. A 
little mud was splashed on his hat, a little less 
upon his face, much more upon his boots and 

This Being held himself back as he walked 
into the room, shut the door behind him with 
a great deal of noise, and said " Evening I " 
genially. Then he sat down on one of the 
Windsor chairs, sighing deeply. 

He jumped up again, rang the bell, didn't 
wait for it to be answered, put his head 
through the door, and said, " Some of the 
same I " shut the door, sat down again, and 

We were pleased to see him with us, and 
we suggested that even so early he had been 
hunting the fox, which was indeed the case. 
I asked him (though I knew nothing of 
these things) whether he had a good run, to 


which he answered, shaking his head rapidly 
and biting one of his moustachios : 

" No ! No 1 C'r'inly not 1 . . . Nearly lost 
me life I " 

"I am sorry to hear that," said Grizzle- 
beard, who had often hunted the fox, but 
now did so no longer. The Poet, the Sailor, 
and I sat silent to hear what the newcomer 
might have to say. He heaved a deep and 
contented breath as of a man in port from 
stormy seas, leant forward with his lean 
body, swung his brown gloved hands slowly 
between his white leather legs and said : 

"Wasn't my horse. . . . Haven't got a 
horse. . . . Never had one. ..." 

Then turning to Grizzlebeard, whom he 
rightly imagined to be the wealthiest of our 
group, he said, " Like riding ? " 

"Yes," said Grizzlebeard, thinking care- 
fully, " I have always liked to ride horses. I 
like it still in moderation." 

" Ah ! " said the stranger wisely, with his 
head on one side. " That's it. Now the way 
you ride 'em doesn't really matter much ; it's 
the kind of horse 1 " 


" Played cup and ball with you ? " said I, 

"Contrariwise, he went quite smooth and 
easy ; but oh my Lord, his courage ! . . . 

" You know," he went on, tapping his left 
palm with his right forefinger, "there's a kind 
of courage that's useful and another kind 
that's foolhardy. Now this horse (which was 
old Benjamin's of Petworth) didn't mind 
danger and he didn't know danger; so there 
was no merit as you may say ; but I'm not 
denying a good thing when I see it, and I 
tell you he was a hero I " 

He sat down again and thought consider- 
ably about the horse. There was a sort of 
lyricism or inspiration in him. He looked 
up at the ceiling and said, " Lord ! What a 
brute ! " Then he spread his hands outwards, 
staring at us with his eyes, and said, "He 
was red all over, and his eyes were red as 
well, and he chucked his head up in the air 
like a big lizard, and he tried to bite his bit 
in two with his great teeth, and he snarled 
and spat defiance, and he could never stand on 
more than two feet at a time, and he changed 


them ten times a second. It was what they 
call * dancing/ That's how he went on while 
all the other people were sitting quietly on 
their beastly great well-fed animals, looking 
silly. I didn't say anything to him ; I didn't 
feel it was my place ; but an ass of an iron- 
monger man who's been buying land out 
Graffham way said, ' Whoa then ! Whoa 
there I ' . . . Silly gheezer I Made the beast 
perfectly mad. . . . He did hate it I . . . and 
I had no way of telling him it wasn't my 
fault, though I longed to — from the bottom 
of my heart. Then old Squire Powler, who 
married my aunt Eliza for her money, and 
butters up my father about his Dowser-man 
and the wells, came up and asked me where 
I had got the beast from, and I said, ' From 
Hell,' and he went away looking like a fool." 
When this excitable young man had said 
all this, he was afraid (as men of breeding are 
when they have got quite off the rails) that 
he had said too much. But Grizzlebeard, 
who had the kindest of hearts, said genially, 
"Oh, there's no harm in old Mr. Powler." 
And even I, though I did not know Squire 


Powler, said I believed that Dowsers were 
quite genuine, which was the truth and did 
no harm. 

The tall lean man wanted to be silent after 
his explosion, but Grizzlebeard drew him on, 
and the young man's own straightforwardness 
forbade him to be silent. He was bottling 
up the tale and it must out, so he burst 
forth again. 

" Well, there I The first thing all the other 
people did was to go after the little dogs 
across a field or two. And this horse, which 
was to carry me about, he stood stock still 
and looked at them as though he thought 
they were mad. Then he suddenly raced 
away in a half circle with his head down, and 
stopped short in front of an oak tree. This 
annoyed me so much that I leant forward and 
slapped him on the side of his face. And my 
word ! Didn't he snap round and try to bite 
my foot I And then he began hopping side- 
ways in a manner most horrible to see and 
to feel. Now by this time I was wondering 
what would become of me, and I could fairly 
have cried, for if he didn't go back into Pet- 


worth where somebody could catch him — 
and that was what I hoped — the only other 
thing would be to get off and give him a 
kick in the ribs and let him run, and then I 
should have to buy him, and I.,ord knows 
who'd find the money for that I S'posin' he 
went and drowned his silly self in Timberley 
Brook or got hung up on a post ? Eh ! 

This tall, lean young man again thought 
that he had exceeded, but our sympathetic 
faces, nay, our appealing eyes, prompted him 
to continue. He went on more slowly. 

*' All of a sudden, a long way off, all the 
little dogs began making those yelping noises 
of theirs which they do when they get excited, 
and as I was right high up on this tall animal 
I could see their white tails wagging out by 
Burton Rough, a little beyond the Jesuits. 
I got really interested. . . . What ? Then 
I stopped thinking of anything, because he, 
this horse I mean, began going as quickly as 
ever he could, quite straight, and I knew that 
there was the Rother in between. Oh Lord 1 
You talk of a mouth 1 , . , 


" Now, when you want to pull up a horse 
that's got too Frenchy, if you take me," he 
continued, looking extremely intelligent, and 
prepared to detail the whole process, " there' re 
lots of dodges. Some men '11 give a sharp jerk 
sideways, and try to wrench his head off, and 
/ knew a man (he's dead now . . . kind o' 
soldier) who just pulled and pulled and then 
suddenly let go. He said that was the way. 
But what / do is to saw backwards and for- 
wards right and left 'til he's reg'lar bored 
and can't stand it. Then he'll stop to see 
what's the matter. Any horse will. Even if 
he'd a mouth like an old conscience. 'Least 
I thought any horse would 'til to-day; but 
old Benjamin's horse didn't. Never thought 
an animal could go so straight I Got quite 
close to the turf and tucked his shins under 
him somehow, Tirri Fat, Tirri Pat, Tirri Pat, 
Tirri Pat, Tirri Pat, so quick, you couldn't 
tell hardly when he touched and when he 
didn't. I wasn't able to turn round and 
look at his tail 'cause I was so anxious, but 
it must have been standing straight out . . . 
his neck was, anyway; and 1 knew the 


Rother was gettin' closer all the time. He 
didn't take a lep exactly when he got to 
the hedges, but he just went on gallopin' 
and they went by from under him. Thought 
I never saw the old roofs long way off 
look so quiet ! When I came to Mr. 
Churton's field, the one where the cows are, 
I thought all of a sudden, * Sposin' there's 
wire ? ' It's a measly sort of crinkled hedge, 
but enough to hide wire. Well, long 'fore 
I'd remembered, he was past it ; and that was 
the only place you'd have known you were 
passin' anything. He missed somethin' with 
one of his hind feet, damn him, but he was off 
again. Then I saw the Rother, and I thought 
to myself quite clearly, * Either he'll jump 
right over this river, and then it'll be a sort o' 
miracle because it's eight times as far as any 
horse has jumped before, and it's just as easy 
to sit that as anything, because it will be just 
sailing through the air ; or else he'll go into 
the water, and then he won't play the fool 
any more.' For I'd always heard that when a 
wild, common, mad horse got into cold water 
it cured him, same as 't would anybody else. 

(1,655) * Q 


But there ! That's just what didn't happen I 
Neither of 'em I You'll believe me . . . when 
he got to the brink of that water — wow ! — he 
swerved round like a swallow and made for 
the high road and Petworth again 1 An' when 
he got on the high road he began dancing 
slowly home and puffing as though he'd done 
a day's work, and every now and then he'd 
sneeze. . . . My word, what a day ! " 

" It can't have taken you a day ; it's only 
lunch time yet," said Grizzlebeard gently. 

" No,'' said the genial stranger, getting 
up towards the door and looking over his 
shoulder. " Not it ! Didn't take twenty 
minutes ! " Then he roared through the 
door : " 'Nother the same ! " shut the door 
again, and went on : " Twenty minutes 't 
most 1 Over b' 'leven 1 But it filled up the 
day all right. Haven't been able to think 
of anything else for hours. And he came 
back to old Benjamin's as quiet as a lamb, 
only with that hellish red glint in his eye. 
And the stable fellow said : 

*' ' You've been takin' it out of 'im ! ' 

" I was so angry I didn't know what to 


say ; anyhow, I said : ' Take your Beelzebub.' 
And the stable boy said quite fiercely: ''E 
ain't Beelzebub, and youVe no right to call 
'im so out of his name ! ' So there might have 
been a scrap, but I was too tired, and I said 
I'd take something ladylike to ride home 
with, and I've got it in the stable now, an' 
I must be getting on. It's late, and I'm 
very tired." 

We told him one after the other, and then 
all in chorus, that we were enchanted beyond 
measure with the description of his day. 
Grizzlebeard asked him whether he had 
heard anything of the run, but he shook 
his head, and the Poet, who had little 
imagined that such things were possible in 
English fields, watched them both with some 

Then we all went out with him to the 
stables to see his beast. There was a half- 
light in the stables, a gloom, and standing 
in the stall an extraordinary sheepish-look- 
ing thing, very old and fat, with a cunning 
face, standing hardly fifteen hands, and plainly 
determined to take easily the last of its pil- 


grimage upon this earth. The tall, wild-eyed 
gentleman went to it, patted it gently upon 
its obese neck, and as he did so he sighed 
with a deep sigh of satisfaction and of con- 
tent. We led it out and saw him get on. 
His legs looked inordinately long. He very 
cheerily bade us " Good evenin'," and as he 
rode out eastward down the road we heard 
the slapping of his mount's shoes upon the 
wet surface, as though in spite of her lethargy 
(for she was a mare) the weight of the rider 
was too much for her. It was a slow sort of 
sidling gait that the noise betrayed as it 
fainted into the distance. If he had suffered 
from horses that morning, that afternoon he 
was having his revenge ; it was the horse that 

As we stood there in the stable yard talk- 
ing, a very short ostler of a hard appearance, 
with the straw of ages in his teeth, came up, 
and, believing us to be wealthy, hit his fore- 
head hard with the forefinger of his right 
hand. Grizzlebeard, who loved his country 
like his soul and was always sincere, and never 
allowed enough for the follies and vices of men. 


but believed them better or wiser than they 
were, said to the ostler with great curiosity : 
•' I ought to know that young man. He was 
a nephew of Sir John Fowler's, I believe ? " 
The ostler said as smartly as a serpent : 
*' Yessir 1 I don't know about that, sir. 
He's Master Battie, of The Kennels, sir, 
where his father 'lows him to live, sir. He's 
back from abroad, sir." 

Grizzlebeard looked down the road gently, 
thinking of the whole countryside and fixing 
his man. Then he said a little sadly : " Oh I 
that's Batteson ; that was the third one, the 
one his poor mother used to think so much of, 
and wouldn't send away." 

We all went into the house together, and 
when we got there Grizzlebeard, after deep 
thought, said : " Now what an extraordinary 
thing that a man brought up like that, as a 
boy anyhow, should have allowed himself to 
get on to a horse Hke that ! Who could ride 
a horse like that ? " 

The Sailor. " Why, no one, but let us be 
up and going. We must not waste this day, 
but soon we shall get over that lift of land 


which lies between us and Arun. Let us take 
the road." 

So we went out and took the Amberley 
road, and we passed the heath that is there, 
leaving the pond upon our right, and we 
passed the little wood of pine trees, and 
Grizzlebeard said : 

" How much taller is this wood ! I knew 
it when I was a boy I " 

And I said, *' Yes, and it is taller even for 

And the Poet said, *' I know it." 
And the Sailor said, " I know it too." 
Myself. " Yes, we all know this landmark, 
and we all know these ups and downs, and 


Rackham Mount, and the monastery behind 
us, and Parham, that great house. For we 
are on the fringe of the things we know and 
in a border country as it were. Very soon 
we shall speak with our own people under 
our own hills." 

Grizzlebeard. " In this hour, then, we shall 
get over the height of land ; and the first of 
us that sees the river Arun must tell the 
others, and we will arrange for him some 
sort of prize, since you all three speak in 
such terms of the valley." 

The Poet. " We do not speak of it so from 
any common affection, no, nor from any affec- 
tion which is merely deep, but because it is 
our own country, and because the sight of 
one's own country after many years is the 
one blessed thing of this world. There is 
nothing else blessed in this world, I think, 
and there is nothing else that remains." 

Myself. " What the Sailor says is true. 
When we get over that lift of land upon 
the Amberley road before us we shall see 
Arun a long way off between his reeds, and 
the tide tumbling in Arun down towards the 


sea. We shall see Houghton and Westburton 
Hill, and Duncton further along, and all the 
wall of them, GrafFham and Barlton, and so 
to Harting, which is the end where the county 
ceases and where you come to shapeless things. 
All this is our own country, and it is to see it 
at last that we have travelled so steadfastly 
during these long days." 

The Poet. " Whatever you read in all the 
writings of men, and whatever you hear in 
all the speech of men, and whatever you 
notice in the eyes of men, of expression or 
reminiscence or desire, you will see nothing 
in any man's speech or writing or expression 
to match that which marks his hunger for 
home. Those who seem to lack it are rather 
men satiated, who have never left their villages 
for a time long enough to let them know the 
craving and the necessity. Those who have 
despaired of it are the exiles, and the curse 
upon them is harder than any other curse that 
can fall upon men. It is said that the first 
murder done in this world was punished so, 
by loss of home ; and it is said also that the 
greatest and the worst of the murders men 


ever did has also been punished in the same 
way, by the general exile of its doers and all 
their children. They say that you can see 
that exile in their gestures and in the 
tortured lines of their faces and in the 
unlaughing sadness of their eyes." 

Grizzlebeard. " Tell me, Sailor, when you 
say that thus, coming home, you will be 
satisfied, are you so sure? For my part, I 
have travelled very widely, especially in 
Eastern places (which are the most different 
from our own), and, one time and another 
— altogether forty times — I have come back 
to the flats of my own country, eastward of 
the Vale of Glyiide. I have seen once more 
the heavy clouds of home fresh before the 
wind over the Level, and I have smelt, from 
the saltings and the innings behind Pevensey, 
the nearness of the sea. Then indeed I have 
each time remembered my boyhood, and each 
time I have been glad to come home. But 
I never found it to be a final gladness. 
After a little time I must be off again, and 
find new places. And that is also why in 
this short journey of ours I came along with 


you all, westward into those parts of the 
county which are not my own." 

The Sailor. " I cannot tell you, Grizzle- 
beard, whether a man can find completion 
in his home or no. You are a rich man, 
and you have travelled as rich men do, for 
pleasure — which rich men never find." 

Chizzlebeard. " Nor poor men either I " 

The Sailor. ** Well, poor men do not seek 
it, so they are not saddened, but rich men, 
anyhow, travel to find it and never find it ; 
then if they return to find it in their homes, 
why of course they will not find it there 
either, for a man must come back home very 
weary and after labour, or some journeying 
to which he was compelled, if he is to taste 

Myself. "Nevertheless, Sailor, what Grizzle- 
beard has asked, or rather what he means by 
asking it, is true. We none of us shall rest, 
not even in the Valley of Arun ; we shall go 
past and onwards." 

The Poet. " I think we shall." 

Myself. " We shall go past and onwards ; 
we shall not be content, we shall not be 


satisfied. The man who wrote that he had 
not in all this world a native place knew 
his business very well indeed, and it is the 
business of all verse." 

The Poet. "Nevertheless we know it in 
dreams. There are dreams in which men 
do attain to a complete satisfaction, reaching 
the home within the home and the place in- 
side the mind. And such a man it was, re- 
membering such dreams, who wrote that he 
had forgotten the name of his own country 
and could not find his way to it. But this 
man had in him a sense that soon the name 
of his own country would be revealed to him, 
and he knew that when he heard the name 
he should find the place well enough; it would 
come back at once to him, as the memory of 
his love and of the Dovrefjeld came to that 
man who had brought home the master-maid 
in the story. He had brought her home 
from over seas; but later he had forgotten 
her, from eating human food. 

" This man said he foresaw a fateful 
moment coming, and that he had it like a 
picture within. He would be in a tavern 


sitting by himself and two others would be 
there talking low together, so that he should 
not hear. Yet one of these talking low 
would speak the name of his own country, 
and when he heard the name of his own 
country (he said) then he knew that he would 
rise up, and take his staff and go. 

* I will go without companions, 
And with nothing in my hand * " 

Myself. "That is a mistake. If he has 
a staff in his hand he will have something 
in his hand. I think he put it in for the 

The Sailor. " Do not, do not interrupt the 
Poet, or he will not be able to continue his 
poetry; besides which, one is not bound to 
these things in poetry as one is in arithmetic ; 
it has been proved a thousand times by the 
human race in chorus." 

Grizzlebeard. '* Go on, Poet." 

The Poet— 

" I shall go without companions, 
And with nothing in my hand ; 
I shall pass through many places 

That I cannot understand — 
Until I come to my own country, 
Which is a pleasant land ! 


The trees that grow in my own country 

Are the beech tree and the yew ; 
Many stand together, 

And some stand few. 
In the month of May in my own country 

All the woods are new." 

The Sailor. " I believe I know where this 
place is of which the Poet talks. It is the 
corner of the hill above the Kennels, between 
Upwaltham and Gumber." 

The Poet {angrily). " It is nothing of the 
sort. It is a place where no man ever has 
been or will be — at least not such men as 

Grizzleheard. "Do not be angry. Poet; but 
tell us if there is any more. " 

The Poet, " There is very httle more, and 
it runs like this : — 

' When I get to my own country 

I shall lie down and sleep ; 
I shall watch in the valleys 

The long flocks of sheep. 
And then I shall dream, for ever and all, 

A good dream and deep.' " 

Grizzleheard. " That is the point — that is 
the point. If a man could be certain that 


he would sleep and dream for ever, then in 
coming back to his own country he would 
come to a complete content ! But you must 
mark you how in all the stories of the thing, 
even in the story of the homecoming of 
Ulysses, they do not dare to tell you all 
the human things that followed and all the 
incompletion of its joys." 

Myself. " For my part I think you are very 
ungrateful or very mystical ; or perhaps you 
have got religion. But at any rate it is 
your business and not mine. I say for my 
part, if I can get back to that country which 
lies between Lavant and Bother and Arun, I 
will live there as gratefully as though I were 
the fruit of it, and die there as easily as a 
fruit falls, and be buried in it and mix with it 
for ever, and leave myself and all I had to it 
for an inheritance." 

Grizzleheard. " Well then, Myself, since 
you think so much of your own country, 
how shall we mark the passage of Arun 
when we come to the bridge of it ? " 

Myself. " Let us draw lots who shall drown 
himself for a sacrifice to the river." 


The Poet. "Let us count our money — it 
must be getting low, and I have none." 

The Sailor. " No, let us tell (so many years 
after, no one cares) the story of the fost love 
each of us had — such of us as can remember." 

Each of us, lying in his heart, agreed. 

When we had given this promise each to 
the others (and each lying in his heart) the 
rain began to fall again out of heaven, but 
we had come to such a height of land that 
the rain and the veils of it did but add to the 
beauty of all we saw, and the sky and the 
earth together were not Uke November, but 
like April, and filled us with wonder. At 
this place the flat water-meadows, the same 
that are flooded and turned to a lake in mid- 
winter, stretch out a sort of scene or stage, 
whereupon can be planted the grandeur of 
the Downs, and one looks athwart that flat 
from a high place upon the shoulder of 
Rackham Mount to the broken land, the 
sand hills, and the pines, the ridge of Egdean 
side, the uplifted heaths and commons which 
flank the last of the hills all the way until 
one comes to the Hampshire border, beyond 


which there is nothing. This is the fore- 
ground of the gap of Arundel, a district of the 
Downs so made that when one sees it one 
knows at once that here is a jewel for which 
the whole county of Sussex was made, and 
the ornament worthy of so rare a setting. 
And beyond Arun, straight over the fiat 
where the line against the sky is highest, the 
hills I saw were the hills of home. 

All we four stood upon that height in the 
rain that did not hide the lights upon the 
fields below and beyond us, and we saw white 
and glinting in the water-meadows the river 
Arun, w^hich we had come so many miles to 
see; for that earlier happening of ours upon 
his rising place and his springs in the forest, 
did not break our pilgrimage. Our business 
now was to see Arun in his strength, in that 
place where he is already full of the salt sea 
tide, and where he rolls so powerful a water 
under the Bridge and by Houghton Pit and 
all round by Stoke Woods and so to Arundel 
and to the sea. 

Then we looked at that river a little while, 
and blessed it, and felt each of us within and 


deeply the exaltation of return, the rain still 
falling on us as we went. We came at last 
past the great chalk pit to the railway, and 
to the Bridge Inn which lies just on this side 
of tlie crossing of Arun. 

When we 

had all four 

come in out 

of the rain into Mr. Duke's 

parlour at the Bridge Inn, and 

when we had ordered beer and 

had begun to dry ourselves at 

'^"j"" the fire, the Sailor said : 

*' Come, Grizzlebeard, we 

:> promised to tell the stories of our 

^ first loves when we came to Arun ; 

and as you are much the oldest of us do 

you begin." 

(1,655) p 


" With all my heart," said Grizzlebeard, 
"for, as you know, I am not one of those 
belated heretics who hold such things sacred, 
believing as I do that that only is sacred which 
attaches directly to the Faith. . . . Neverthe- 
less , , . to remember that great time, and 
how securely 1 was held, and in what a port 
lay the vessel of my soul, I do feel upon me 
something that should silence a man. ..." 

" By what moorings were you held ? " 
said I. 

" By three," he answered. " Her eyelids, 
her voice, and her name." Then after a little 
pause he went on : 

" She was past her youth. Her twenty- 
fifth year was upon her. Her father and her 
mother were dead. She was of great wealth. 

'* She had one brother, who lived away in 
some great palace or other in the north, and 
one sister who was married far off in Italy. 
She herself had inherited an ancient house of 
stone set in her own valley, which was that 
of the river Brede, and most dear to her; 
for it was there that she had lived as a child, 
and there would she pass her womanhood. 


" Into this house I was received, for she 
was much older than I, and when I first 
knew her I was not yet a man. Thither per- 
petually in the intervals of study I returned. 
Insensibly my visits grew most natural; I 
passed the gates which are the beginning of 
a full life, and constantly I found myself, in 
spite of a more active bearing and a now 
complete possession of my youth, alone in her 
companionship. Her many servants knew me 
as a part of their household : her grooms 
who first had taught me to ride, her keepers 
with whom I had first shot, her old nurse, a 
pensioner, who favoured this early friend- 
ship. The priest also called me by my 

"We walked together in long avenues ; 
the lawns of four hundred years were a carpet 
for us. We paced her woods slowly together 
and often watched together in the frosty 
season of the year the early setting of the 
sun behind bare trees. At evening by her 
vast and regal fires we sat side by side, 
speaking in that light alone to each other 
of dead poets and of the wars and of things 


seen and of small domestic memories grown 
to be pictures clear and lovable. 

"Then at last I knew what briar it was 
that had taken root within me. 

" In her absence — during the long nights 
especially — there returned to me the drooping 
of her eyes : their slow and generous glances. 
Waking and far off from her, when I saw in 
some stranger that same rare lowering of the 
lids I was troubled. 

" Her voice, because it was her very self, 
so moved me, that whenever I heard it upon 
my way to her doors, whenever I heard it 
speaking even in the distance no matter what 
things to another, I trembled. 

" Her name, which was not Mary nor 
Catherine, but was as common and simple a 
name, was set above the world and was given 
power over my spirit. So that to hear it 
attached even to another or to see it written 
or printed on a page everything within me 
stirred, and it was as though a lamp had 
been lit suddenly in my soul. Then, indeed, 
I understood how truly there are special 
words of witchcraft and how they bind and 
loose material things." 


An enthusiasm came into Grizzlebeard's 
eyes, something at once briUiant and distant 
like the light which shines from the Owers 
miles out to sea. He opened his hand down 
on the table with a fine gesture of vigour, 
and cried out : 

" But what a vision is that I What a 
spring of Nature even for the poor memory 
of a man ! I mean the unrestricted converse 
with such a friend at the very launching of 
life! When we are still without laws and 
without cares, and yet already free from 
guardians, and in the full ownership of our 
own selves, to find a shrine which shall so 
sanctify our outset : to know, to accompany, 
and to adore ! 

"Do not ask me whether I contemplated 
this or that, union or marriage, or the mere 
continuance of what I knew, for I was up 
in a world where no such things are con- 
sidered. There was no time. No future 
threatened me, no past could be remembered. 
I was high above all these things. 

" By an accident of fortune I was called 
away, and in a distant town over seas had 


alien work put before me, and I mixed with 
working men. I faithfully curry-combed lean 
horses, and very carefully greased the axles 
of heavy wheels, till, after nineteen months, 
I could come home, and returning I made 
at once for the Valley. 

"As I approached the house I was con- 
scious of no change. The interval had van- 
ished, and I was once again to see and to 

"The man that opened the door to me 
knew me well. I asked for her by her title 
and her name — for she was noble. He 
answered me, using her title but not her 
name. He told me that she would be home 
that evening late, and he gave me a note to 
read from her. The writing on that little 
square of paper renewed in me with a power 
I knew too well the magic of a sacred place 
to which I had deliberately returned. As 
I held it in my hand I breathed unsteadily, 
and I walked in a fever towards the great 
gates of iron; nor did I open the letter till 
I had taken refuge for the next few hours 
of evening in the inn of her village, where 


also I was known and had been loved by 
all in my boyhood. 

*' There, underneath a little lamp, alone 
and with food before me, I read the invita- 
tion from her hand. 

" I learnt in it that she had married a man 
whose fame had long been familiar to me, a 
politician, a patriot, and a most capable manu- 
facturer. She told me (for I had warned her 
of my landing) that they would be back at 
seven to pass two nights in this country house 
of theirs, and she begged me to be their guest, 
at least for that short time. 

*' A veil was torn right off the face of the 
world and my own spirit, and I saw reality 
all bare, original, evil and instinct with death. 
Nor would I eat and drink, but at last I cried 
out loud, mourning like a little child ; and 
when I was rested of this I stood by the 
window and gazed out into the darkness until 
I had recovered my nature, and felt again that 
I was breathing common air. 

" When spirits fall it is not as when bodies 
fall ; they are not killed or broken ; but I had 
fallen in those moments from an immeasur- 


able height, and the rest of my way so long 
as I might live was to be passed under the 
burden to which we all are doomed. Then 
strong, and at last (at such a price) mature, 
1 noted the hour and went towards the doors 
through which she had entered perhaps an 
hour ago in the company of the man with 
whose name she had mingled her own." 
Myself. " What did he manufacture ? " 
Grizzlebeard. *' Rectified lard ; and so well, 
let me tell you, that no one could compete 
with him." Then he resumed : " I entered 
and was received. Her voice gave me again 
for a moment some echoes of the Divine: 
they faded; and meanwhile her face, her 
person, with every moment took on before 
me a less pleasing form. 

" I have been assured by many who knew 
us both that what I saw was far from novel. 
To me it was as strange as earthquake. Her 
skin, I could now see, though in the main 
of a sallow sort, was mottled with patches ot 
dead-white (for she disdained all artifice). 
Her teeth were various ; I am no judge 
whether they were false or true. Her eyes 


suffered from some afFection which kept them 
half closed ; her voice was set at a pitch which 
was not musical ; her gestures were some- 
times vulgar ; her conversation was inane. I 
thought in the next quarter of an hour that 
I had never heard so many things quoted 
from the newspapers in so short a time. 

" But we chatted together merrily enough 
all three until she went to bed. Then I sat 
up for some hours talking with the jolly 
master of the house of politics and of lard. 
For I had found in my travels and in my new 
acquaintance with men that every man is most 
willing and most able to speak of his own 
trade. And let me tell you that this man 
had everything in him which can make a 
good citizen and a worthy and useful member 
of the State. His intelligence was clear and 
stable, his range of knowledge sufficient, his 
temper equable, and his heart so warm that 
one could not but desire him the best of fates. 
I have not met him for many years, but I 
saw in the last honours list that he had pur- 
chased a title. I still count him for an older 


"Next morning at a hearty breakfast I 
grew to like him better than ever, and I could 
see in the healthy light of a new day what 
excellent qualities resided even in the wife 
whom he had chosen. The work to which 
my poverty (for then I was poor) compelled 
me, called me by an early train to town, and 
since that morning I have lived my life. 

" But that first woman still sits upon her 
throne. Not even in death, I think, shall I 
lose her." 

" Grizzlebeard, Grizzlebeard," said I, "these 
things are from Satan ! Children and honest 
marriage should long ago have broken the 

" I am not married," said he, " neither have 
I any children." 

" Then loves here and there should have 
restored you to yourself." 

He shook his head and answered : " It was 
not for lack of them, great or small. There 
have been hundreds . . . but let us say no 
more ! There was some foreigner who put it 
well when he said, ' Things do not come at 
all, or if they come, they come not at that 


moment when they would have given us the 
fullness of delight.' " 

There remained in his pewter a little less 
than half the beer it had held. He gazed at 
it and noted also at his side, by the fire, a deal 
box full of sand, such as we use in my county 
for sanding of the floor. 

Steadily, and with design, he poured out 
all the beer upon the sand, and put down his 
pewter with a ring. 

The beer did not defile the sand. It was 
soaked in cleanly, and an excellent aroma rose 
from it over the room. But beer, as beer, 
beer meant for men, good beer and nourish- 
ing, beer fulfilling the Cervisian Functions, 
beer drinkable, beer satisfying, beer meet-to- 
be-consumed: that beer it could never be 

Then Grizzlebeard said : " You see what I 
have done. I did it chiefly for a sacrifice, 
since we should always forego some part of 
every pleasure, offering it up to the Presiders 
over all pleasure and pouring it out in a seem- 
ing waste before the gods to show that we 
honour them duly. But I did it also for a 


symbol of what befalls the chief experience 
in the life of every man." 

There was a long silence when Grizzle- 
beard had done. From where I sat I could 
look through the window and see the line 
of the Downs, and the great beech woods, 
and birds swinging in the rainy air; and I 
remembered one pair of men and women, 
and another and another, and then I fell to 
thinking of a man whom I had known in 
a foreign place, who at once loved and 
hated — a thing to me incomprehensible. But 
he was southern. Then I heard the silence 
broken by the Poet, who was saying to the 
Sailor : 

" Now it is your turn." 

And the Sailor said, " By all means if 
you will," and very rapidly began : " My 
first love lived in the town of Lisbon, after 
the earthquake and before the Revolution, 
when I was a lad of seventeen, and already 
very weary of the sea. She, upon her side, 
may have been thirty-six or a trifle more, 
but in that climate women age quickly. 
Our romance was short ; it lasted but five 


hours. Indeed, my leave on shore was not 
much longer, for I was serving in the galley, 
shame be it said ; but a boy must earn his 
living, and rather than be late on board I 
would have fled to the hills." 

*' What was her name ? " said the Poet. 

" I do not know," answered the Sailor, " I 
did not ask. . . . But one moment ! . . . I 
am not so sure that this was my first love 
... I fear the vividness of my recollection 
has misled me. Unless I am quite wrong," 
he went on, musing slowly, '* it was in New- 
haven, before we set sail upon that Lusitanian 
cruise, that I met my first love, by name 
Belina ... or stay I . . . Wrong again, for 
that was my second ship. Now you ask me 
and I begin to search my memory, my first 
love was not there at all, but at a place called 
Erith, in London River. At least I think 
so. . . . 

" Bear with me a moment, gentlemen," he 
said piteously, putting his hand to his fore- 
head ; " the years have trampled up my young 
affection. . . . Yes, it was that woman at 
Erith, Joan they called her (did the men). 


Joan 1 . . . Unless it was that curious and 
rather unpleasant woman who lived on the 
far side of Foulness, with her father, and 
used to row out with fruit and things when 
the tide was off the mud, and just before 
the boats waiting to get through the Swin 
had water enough to weigh anchor. ... It 
was one of the two I am fairly sure. The 
younger woman in Goole (for when I was 
young, though few things of any size went 
up river as far as that, we did) was, if I 
remember right, not a Love at all but a 
mere Consoler " 

The Poet. " I do not think you are serious ; 
I don't think you understand what you 

The Sailor. "Why, then, since you know 
better, you can give me your own list ; I 
have no doubt it will do as well as mine, 
for my memory is very confused upon these 

The Poet. " I cannot tell you anything 
about your affairs, and it seems you cannot 
tell us either; but I can very well describe 
my own, since I must do so by the terms 


of our agreement, though 1 would rather 
keep silent. 

"I was passing in a certain year, just at 
the end of my school-days, by a path which 
led between the two lakes at Bringhanger. 
It is about a mile from the house, and 
people do not often pass that way, though 
it is one of the most beautiful places in the 
world. The first green was upon the trees, 
but their buds were still so small that 
one could see the hills near by through 
their open branches, and the wind, though 
it was gentle, looked cold upon the surface 
of the mere, for it was very early morning. 
Then it was that I saw upon the further 
shore, mixed as it were with the foliage 
and half-veiled by reeds, a young woman 
whom I was not to see again; who she 
was or by what accident she came there 
I have never known. I made at once to 
watch her form as it passed into the boughs 
of that lakeside and made in the tracery of 
them a sort of cloud, as I thought, so that 
I was not certain for a moment whether 
I had really seen a human thing or no. 


Immediately, as though she had melted into 
the trees, she was gone, and I went on my 
way. But as I wandered, going eastwards 
towards Arun, this vision grew and fixed 
itself within my mind, and then for the next 
days of lonely travel in the County from 
inn to inn, it became my companion, until 
at last I took it for my fellow-traveller. 
I have kept it in my heart ever since." 

The Sailor. " Great heavens, what a lie I " 

The Poet answered angrily that it was no 
lie, but the Sailor stood his ground. 

" It is a lie," said he, *' and a literary lie, 
which is the most contemptible of all lies." 

" I cannot prove it," answered the Poet 
sullenly. " I cannot even prove that what 
I saw was human." 

" No," said the Sailor, " you cannot, for 
you got it in a book, or you mean to put 
it in a book ; but all that kind of talk has 
no more flesh and blood in it than the rot- 
talk of the literary men who write about 
huntin' in Grub Street. Wow ! I would 
not be seen dead in a field with such flimsy 


" It was then I wrote," said the Poet 
dreamily, as though there were no one by, 
" five lines which enshrine her memory." 

And as he recited them the Sailor put up 
first his thumb and then one finger after 
another, to mark the completion of each line 
and the rhymes. 

" The colour of the morning sky 
Was like a shield of bronze, 
The something or other was something or other." 

" The what ? " said the Sailor. 

" I cannot remember the exact words," said 
the Poet, "and I have never been able to 
complete that line properly, but I have the 
rhythm of it in my head right enough," and 
he went on — 

" Her little feet came wandering by 
The edges of the ponds." 

**Now I've got you," shouted the Sailor 
triumphantly, " * ponds ' does not rhyme with 
* bronze.' " 

" Yes it does ! " said the Poet, with ex- 
citement. "It's just one of those new 
rhymes one ought to use. One does not 

(1,655) Q 


pronounce the ' d ' in pond. At least," he 
added hurriedly, "not in the plural." 

The Sailor appealed to Grizzlebeard. 

" Grizzlebeard," he shouted, " the Poet is 
telling lies and making bad rhymes I Grizzle- 
beard I " 

Then he looked closer and saw that 
Grizzlebeard was asleep. 

But at the shouting of the Sailor, "Eh? 
What?" he said, waking with a start, 
"have I missed a story?" 

" Two," said I, " each duller and worse 
than the last." 

" Then I am glad I slept," said Grizzlebeard. 

Myself. "You do well to be glad! The 
Sailor lied about twenty wenches and the 
Poet lied about one, but the Sailor's lies were 
the more entertaining of the two, and also, 
what is not the same, the more possible. 
They were lying about their first loves, as 
you may well believe." 

Grizzlebeard (muttering). "Well, well, 
small blame to them, we all do that more 
or less. And you, Myself, have you told 
your story ? " 


The Sailor {eagerly). " No, he has not, he 
has shirked it." 

The Poet. " He has led us on, and he him- 
self has said nothing, which is not fair." 

Myself. " I was only waiting my turn, and 
I shall be very happy to tell you those enter- 
taining things. I make no secret of them. 
That is not my religion, thank Heaven." 

At this point I put on such gravity as the 
circumstance demanded, and looking at my 
companions in a sober fashion, so that they 
might expect a worthy revelation, I took 
from the ticket-pocket of my coat a sove- 
reign, new minted, yellow red, stamped in 
the effigy of the King, full-weighted, ex- 
cellently clean and sound. And holding this 
up between my finger and my thumb, 1 
said : 

" Here is my first love I Whom I met 
when first I came out from the warmth of 
home into the deserts of this world, and 
who has ever been absolutely sure and true, 
and has never changed in the minutest way, 
but has ever been sterling and fixed and 
secure. And in the service of this first love 


of mine I, in my turn, have been absolutely- 
faithful, and from that loyalty I have never 
for one moment swerved. Gentlemen, to 
be faithful in that sort is a rare and a worthy 
thing ! " 

Then I put back the sovereign in my 
pocket, gently and reverently, and taking 
up the pewter I drank what was left in it, 
and said to them in more solemn tones : 

'* You see what I have done. I have 
quite drained this tankard. It is empty now. 
I did it chiefly because I felt inclined ; since 
it is commonsense that we should never 
forego any one of the few pleasures which 
we may find to hand. But I did it also for 
a symbol of what jolly satisfaction a man 
may get if he will do what every man should 
do ; that is, take life and its ladies as he finds 
them during his little passage through the 
dayHght, and his limping across the stage of 
this world. So now you know." 

But Grizzlebeard shook his head and said : 

" All these things are follies I But since 
the rain is over let us be oif again. It is 
November : the days are brief ; and the light 


will not last us long. Let us press forward 
over Arun, and pursue our westward way 
beneath the hills." 

So we did as he bade us, crossing the long 
bridge and seeing the water swirling through 
on the strong brown tide, and so along the 
causeway, and up the first ride into Hough- 
ton, where is that little inn, " St. George and 
the Dragon," at which King Charles the 
Second, the first King of England to take 
a salary and be a servant, drank as he fled 
from Worcester many years ago. And we 
went on that ancient way. that hollow way, 


which the generations and the generations 
rolling upon wheels and marching upon 
leather, all on their way to death, have 
worn down so far below the level of the 
brown ploughed land. We went past Bury 
to Westburton, and still onwards to the 
place where some dead Roman had his 
palace built, near the soldiers' road, in a 
place that looks at a great hollow of the 
Downs and is haunted by the ruin of fifteen 
hundred years. But we did not stop to look 
at the stone pictures there, nor at that sacred 
head of Winter wherein this southern lord 
had bidden his slaves express the desolation 
of our cold and of our leafless trees. We 
went on through the steep, tumbled land, 
down the sharp dip of Bignor, and up the 
sharp bank of Sutton : always westward, 
following the road. And as we went, with 
the approach of evening the wind had cleared 
the sky. There were no more clouds. 
And as we went along the Sailor said : 
" Poet, it is some time since you tried to 
give us verse, and I would not press you, for 
I know well enough that it is hard labour to 


you with that nasty sense of failure all the 
time. None the less I will beg you to try 
your hand, if only to amuse us, for there is 
nothing lightens a road like a song, and we 
have gone already many, many miles." 

The Poet. " With all my heart, since we 
are now upon the edge of Burton and its 
ponds, which, with the trees along them, 
and the heathy lands, and the way that the 
whole setting of them look at the wall of the 
Downs, is perhaps the most verse-producing 
mile in the world. Inspired by this let me 
give you the most enchanting of songs : — 

* Oh gay ! But this is the spring of the year ! 
The sun 

The Sailor, " Halt ! Halt at once 1 You 
have gone mad, if indeed to such brains as 
yours such dignities are reserved. Has it not 
yet sunk into that corked head of yours that 
it is All-Hallows ? For though it is notorious 
that poets neither see what is before them, 
nor hear, nor smell, but work in the void 
(and hence their flimsiness), yet, if you cannot 
see the bare branches and the dead leaves, 


nor smell autumn, nor catch the quality of 
the evening, for the Lord's sake write nothing. 
It would be far better so." 

The Poet. " I am not writing but singing, 
and it is my pleasure to sing of spring time. 
Whether I sing well or no you cannot tell 
until I have accomplished my little song. 
But you have put me out and I must 
begin again." 

Whereupon with less merriment, but full 
of courage, he took up that strain once more. 

" Oh gay ! But this is the spring of the year ! 
The sun shall gladden me all the day, 
And we'll go gathering May, my dear, 
And we'll go gathering May ; 

For the skies are broad and the throstle is here . . , 
And we'll go gathering May." 

When the Poet had sung this again (and 
his voice flattened towards the end of the 
short thing), the Sailor, clasping his hands 
behind his back, began to move more slowly, 
and so compelled us to slacken pace. He 
cast his eyes upon the ground, and for a 
while was lost beneath the surface. He then 
quoted in a deep tone, but to himself : 


«0 God! O Montreal!" 

The Poet. " I don't understand." 

TJie Sailor. " No, you would not." 

Grizzlebeard {kindly). *' It is a quotation, 
Poet. It is a quotation from the poem of 
an Englishman who went to Montreal one 
day and found that they had put Discobolos 
into breeches. Whereupon this Englishman, 
suffering such an adventure among such 
Colonials, wrote an ode to celebrate the 
event, and mournfully repeated throughout 
that ode, time and again, * O God ! O 

Myself. " Yes, since that time it has passed 
into a proverb, and is used to emphasise those 
occasions on which the mind of man has 
fallen short of its high mission in any 
department of art." 

The Poet. "Oh!" 

The Sailor {looking up). " Tell me. Poet, 
did you write that yourself?" 

The Poet {defiantly). "Yes." 

The Sailor {after a shofrt pause). " Tell me, 
Poet, what is a throstle ? " 

The Poet. " I don't know." 


T'he Sailor. " I thought so. And tell me. 
Poet, does he come out in the spring ? " 

The Poet. " I daresay. Most things do." 

The Sailor. " Well, well, we won't quarrel ; 
but if you have written much more like this, 
publish it, and we will have some fun." 

The Poet was now thoroughly annoyed, not 
being so companionable a man (by reason of 
his trade) as he might be. For men become 
companionable by working with their bodies 
and not with their weary noddles, and the 
spinning out of stuff from oneself is an in- 
human thing. 

So I said to him to soothe him : 

" I am no judge of verse. Poet, but I think 
it would go very well to real music. Will 
you not get some one else to put music to it ? " 

The Poet answered angrily : 

" No, I will not, and since the Sailor thinks 
it is so easy to write good verse on the spur of 
the moment, let him try." 

The Sailor [gaily). " Why, I can do these 
things in my sleep. I have written the loveli- 
est things on my shirt-cufF before now, listen- 
ing to public men at dinners. As also alone in 


those cells to which the police have sometimes 
confined me for the hours between revelry 
and morning, I have adorned the walls with 
so many little, charming little, pointed little, 
tender little, suggestive little, diaphanous 
little Stop-shorts or There-you-are's as would, 
were they published in a book, make me more 
famous than last year's Lord Mayor." 

Grizzlebeard. "Yes, but you have not 
taken up the challenge." 

The Sailor {easily). " I will do so at once.'* 

And he rattled out : 

" When open skies renew the year, 
And yaffle under Gumber calls, 
It's because the days are near 
When open skies renew the year. 

That under Burton waterfalls 

The little pools are amber clear. 

And yaffle, yaffle, yaffle, yaffle, 

yaffle under Gumber calls." 

Then he went on very rapidly : 

" Now that is verse if you like I There 
you have good verse, pinned and knowled ; 
strong-set verse, mitred and joined without 
glue I Lord ! I could write such verse for ever 
and not feel it I But I care little for fame, 


and am at this moment rather for bread and 
cheese, seeing that we are coming near the 
Cricketers' Arms at Duncton, a house of call 
famous for this : that men sit there and eat 
to get strength for the climbing of Duncton 
Hill, or, if they are going the other way 
about, they sit there and eat after their 
descent thereof." 

Tlie Poet. "It is all very well, but that 
verse of yours is not yours at all. It is 
Elizabethan and water, and let me tell you 
that the Elizabethan manner can be diluted 
about as successfully as beer. Mix your 
ale with water half and half, and give me 
news of it. So with Elizabethan when you 
moderns think that you have tapped the 

The Sailor. "What you say is not true. 
This is my own verse, and if you tell me it 
is in the manner of those who wrote at £40 
the go under Queen Elizabeth, I am not 
ashamed. Many men lived in that reign who 
wrote with dexterity." 

The Poet. " Well, then, what is a Yaffle ? " 

The Sailor. " Why, it is a real bird." 


The Poet {suidily). "Yes, like the Great 

The Sailor. " No, not like the Great Auk 
at all ; for the Great Auk of whom it is 
written : 

* Here the Great Auk, a bird with hairy legs, 
Arrives in early spring and lays its eggs ' 

(and that was written of Beaehy Head) is dead. 
But the Yaffle is alive and is a woodpecker, 
as you would know if you poets had not all 
your senses corked, as I have said. For when 
the woodpecker cries ' Yaffle ' in the woods, 
all the world of it, except poets, is aware. 

*' Moreover, in my song there are no 
women. One knows your bad poet by an 
excess thereof; but of this sex in the senti- 
mental manner I have also written, saying 
in majestic rhyme: — 

' If all the harm that women do 
Were put into a barrel 
And taken out and drowned in Looe 
Why, men would never quarrel ! ' " 

Myself. " How any man can speak ill of 
women in the same breath with the Looe 
stream that races through the sea not far 


from the Owers Light is more than I can 
understand, seeing that no man hears the 
name of the Owers Light without remember- 
ing that song which was sung to a woman, 
and which goes : — 

' The heavy wind, the steady wind that blows 
beyond the Owers, 
It blows beyond the Owers for you and me !..."* 

The Poet. *' It seems to me you are not 
of the trade ; you are choppy in verse, very 
short-winded, halting; spavined, I think." 

The Sailor. " Why I I have sung the 
longest songs of you all ! And since you 
challenge me, I will howl you one quite 
rotund and complete, but I warn you, your 
hair will stand on end ! " 

Grizzlebeard. " I dread the Sailor. He is 
blasphemous and lewd." 

The Sailor. " Judge when you have heard. 
It is a carol." 

The Poet. " But it is not Christmas." 

The Sailor. " Neither is it spring, yet by 
licence we sang our songs of springtime — 
and for that . . . Well, let me seize you all. 


It has a title — not my own. We call this 
song 'Noel.'" 

Myself {prettily). "And I congratulate 
you, Sailor, on your whimsical originality and 
pretty invention in titles." 

The Sailor— 

"Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel! 
A Catholic tale have I to tell : 
And a Christian song have I to sing 
While all the bells in Arundel ring. 

** I pray good beef and I pray good beer 
This holy night of all the year. 
But I pray detestable drink for them 
That give no honour to Bethlehem. 

" May all good fellows that here agree 
Drink Audit Ale in heaven with me. 
And may all my enemies go to hell ! 
Noel! Noel! Noel! Noel! 
May all my enemies go to hell ! 
Noel! Noel!" 

Grizzlebeard. " Rank blasphemy as I said, 


and heresy, which is worse. For at Christmas 
we should in particular forgive our enemies." 

The Sailor. *' I do. This song is about 
those that do not forgive me." 

The Poet, "And it is bad verse, like all 
the rest." 

The Sailor. "Go drown yourself in milk 
and water ; it is great, hefty howl- verse, as 
strong and meaty as that other of mine was 
lovely and be-winged." 

Grizzlebeard. " What neither the Poet nor 
you seem to know, Sailor, is that the quarrels 
of versifiers are tedious to standers-by, so let 
us go into the Cricketers' Arms and eat as 
you say, in God's name, and occupy ourselves 
with something pleasanter than the disputed 

Myself. " Very well then, let us go into 
the Cricketers' Arms, where Mr. Justice 
Honeybubble went when I was a boy, and 
there delivered his famous Opinion : his 
Considered Opinion, his Opinion of perma- 
nent value, his Opinion which is the glory 
of the law." 

" What opinion was that ? " said Grizzle- 


beard, going through the inn door, and we 
following him. 

" I can tell you without much difficulty," 
said I, "if you will listen, but I warn you 
it is a dull, dull thing. Then, for that matter 
so was that historical lecture of yours upon 
the Sussex War. But I listened to that, so 
now you shall listen to me." 

They sat down not very well pleased, but 
I assured them that when they had heard it 
they would understand more law than most. 
" For the law," said I, " is not the dull subject 
some think it, but a very fascinating trade, 
full of pleasant whims and tricks for throw- 
ing an opponent. It is not all a routine of 
thrusting poor men in prison, as is too 
commonly believed, and as I have notes 
here of what that great Judge, Mr. Justice 
Honeybubble, said and did when he harangued 
the men of Duncton in the Cricketers' Arms 
twenty years ago, when I was a boy, and as 
that feat of his is still famous throughout 
this part of the County, you will do well to 
listen." They ordered their beer therefore, 
and I had mine free, as is the custom of 

(1,65R) 1^ 


the County for the one who tells the story, 
and then taking certain notes from my 
pocket-book, and putting them in order as is 
necessary when we are to follow technical 
matters, I gave it them broadside. 

"Well, then, Mr. Justice Honeybubble 
was a man full of sane humour, my friends. 
He was of a healthy habit of body. He was 
a man, as are many of the law, who preserved 
a vigorous gait into old age, and an expression 
of alertness in his limbs and his eyes. His 
face was ruddy, his eyebrows were thick, his 
white hair was close, and there was plenty of it. 

" It was his pleasure to take long walks 
when his duties gave him leisure, and he 
especially chose these grassy uplands; and 
once he came aswinging down by what used to 
be, but is not, Glatting Beacon, and so through 
the Combe and the leafless beeches of Burton 
Hanger to Duncton and the Cricketers' 
Arms. It was evening, the air was cold and 
pure. He strode steadily down the steep 
road, swinging that walking-stick or rather 
club which was his dearest companion. In 
such a mood and manner did he enter this 


inn where we are now. He entered it with 
the object of eating and drinking something 
before going on to find the train at Petworth ; 
for in the days of which I speak pubHc 
refreshment was permitted to all. 

" He was delighted to find, in the main 
room, a gathering; it was of peasants who 
were discussing a point of difficulty. They 
respectfully saluted him upon his entrance, for 
he always dressed with care, and the constant 
exercise of bullying men who could not reply 
had given him a commanding manner. 

** He stood before the fire surveying them 
in a kindly but authoritative way, and 
listened closely while they discussed the 
matter before them ; nor was it easy to dis- 
cover in what precisely their difficulty lay, 
save that it concerned two disputants, one 
George, another Roland, and that the matter 
of it was thus : — Two pigs, ' Maaster,' ' Masr ' 
Burt, the change of a sovereign, and Chichester 

" Roland had put his case not without fire, 
and had appealed to right being right. 

** George had replied in tones of indignation 


that he was not of that type of character 
which submits to the imputation of folly. 

" Each had reposed his case upon the known 
personalities and conditions of ' Maaster,' 
' Masr ' Burt, Chichester market, current 
coin, and pigs. When, after a little silence, 
the assembly, deliberating over their mugs, 
approached the problem, they did so by slowly 
reciting each in turn at intervals of about 
thirty seconds the ritual phrases, *ArI' 
'That's it,' and in the case of the eldest 
man at the end of the table the declaration 
native to this holy valley, ' Mubbe soa : 
mubbe noa.' 

" Mr. Justice Honeybubble, who had himself 
been compelled upon one occasion to sum up 
for no less than four hours and twenty-three 
minutes, took pity upon these his fellow-men, 
and said : 

" ' Perhaps, gentlemen, I can be of some 
use to you : I am, chrm, chrm, accustomed 
to the weighing of, er, evidence (in the fullest 
sense of that word), and 1 have had no little, 
chrm, experience in matters which have been 
laid before me, chrm, in, er, another capacity.' 


** The peasants, who took him for no less 
than a noble Justice of the Peace, land- 
owner, and perhaps colonel of some auxiliary- 
force, respectfully acceded to his desire, and 
were not disappointed when the humane 
jurist ordered fresh ale for the whole com- 
pany, including himself. He then sat down 
in a brown wooden chair with arms, which 
stood before the fire, crossed his legs, put 
the tips of his fingers together, and faced 
his audience with an expression peculiarly 
solemn which partly awed and partly fas- 
cinated the disputants and the areopagus at 

" Roland and George had just begim to 
state their case again and to speak both at 
once and angrily, for they were unaccustomed 
to forensic ways, when the Judge silenced 
them with a wave of his large white right 
hand, and thus gave tongue : 

" * We have here,' said he, ' what lawyers 
call an issue ; that is, a dispute in opinion, 
or, at any rate, in statement, as to an objec- 
tive truth. We eliminate all factors upon 
which the parties are agreed, and especially y"* 


here he leant forward and clenched his fist in 
an impressive manner, ' all those subjective 
impressions v^^hich, however important in 
themselves, can have no place,' and here he 
waved his right arm in a fine sweeping 
gesture, * before a civil tribunal.' 

" At this point George, who imagined from 
the tone of the Bench that things were going 
ill for him, put on an expression of stubborn 
resolution ; while Roland, who had come to 
a similar conclusion and thought his cause in 
jeopardy, looked positively sullen. But the 
Assessors who sat around were as greatly 
moved as they were impressed, and assumed 
attitudes of intelligent interest, concentrating 
every power of their minds upon the expert's 
exposition of judgment. 

*' * So far, so good,' said Mr. Justice Honey- 
bubble, breathing a deep sigh and drinking 
somewhat from the tankard at his side. * So 
far, so good. Now, from the evidence that 
has been laid before me it is clear that Burt 
as a third party can neither concur nor enter 
any plea of Demurrer or Restraint. That J 
he added sharply, turning suddenly upon an 


old man at the end of the table, ' would 
be Barottage.' The old man, who was by 
profession a hedger and ditcher, nodded 
assent. *And Barottage,' thundered the 
worthy Judge, 'is something so repugnant 
to the whole spirit of our English law, that 
I doubt if any would be found with the 
presumption to defend it ! ' His electrified 
audience held their breaths while he con- 
tinued in somewhat milder tones, ' I admit 
that it has been assimilated to Maintenance by 
no less an authority than Lord Eldon in his 
decision of the matter in Crawford v. Croke. 
But in the Desuetude of Maintenance, and 
the very proper repeal of Graham's Act in 
1848 . . . or possibly 1849 ' (frowning slightly) 
* I am not sure. . . . However, the very proper 
repeal of Graham's Act has left Barottage,' 
and here his voice rose again and vibrated 
with his fullest tones, 'has left Barottage in 
all its native hideousness, an aUen and there- 
fore an iniquitous and a malign accretion upon 
the majestic body of our English Common 
Law.' At this point a slight cheer from 
Roland, who saw things brightening, was 


suppressed by a glance like an angry search- 
light from the eye of the Judge, who con- 
cluded in full diapason, * Nor shall it have any 
mercy from me, so long as I have the strength 
and authority to sit upon this Bench.' 

" Mr. Justice Honeybubble drank again, and 
as he w^as evidently reposing his voice for 
the moment, the now terrified but fascinated 
agriculturists murmured profound applause. 
Their patriotism was moved, the tradition of 
centuries rose in their blood, and had an 
appeal been made to them at that moment 
they would have shed it willingly, however 
clumsily, in defence of that vast fabric of the 
Law. ... In a low, regular and impressive 
voice which marked the change of subject, 
Mr. Justice Honeybubble continued : 

" * Now, gentlemen, consider the pigs. It 
often happens, nay, it must happen in the 
course of judicial proceedings, that our deci- 
sion relies not only on the balance of human 
testimony (and you are there, remember, to 
judge fact not law), but upon the fitting 
together of circumstances as to which that 
testimony relates, and in noting the actions 


or the situation of things or even of persons 
incapable in their nature of entering that 
witness-box' (and here he pointed to a large 
stuffed fish in a glass case, towards which all 
his audience turned with one accord, looking 
round again in a somewhat blank manner) 

* and telling us upon oath ' (the word oath 
in a deep bass) ' what they themselves saw 
and heard in a manner that shall convey the 
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the 
truth. You cannot subpoena a pig ' 

*' ' Ar ! zo you zay. Ar ! ' broke in the 
excited George, who was now confident that 
by some trick of cunning he was being de- 
prived of his pigs, * Ar ! zo you . . .' 

" 'Silence !' roared Mr. Justice Honeybubble. 

* Am I to be interrupted sitting here on this 
Bench, not even by counsel, but by one of the 
parties to the case ? I trust I may never have 
to call attention again in the course of my 
duties to so disgraceful a breach of the im- 
memorial traditions of an English Court of 
Justice ! SnfF ! . . . I repeat, we cannot 
subpoena a pig' (he repeated it with stern 
eyes fixed full on the unfortunate George). 


' But what we can do, gentlemen, is to ask 
ourselves what in all reasonable probability 
would have been the case if under those 
circumstances, neglecting for the moment 
what has been said relative to any letters or 
affidavits put in, were it not what the plaintiff 
has supposed it to be. Chrm ! ' 

"Here, as the intricacy of detail was making 
the exposition somewhat difficult to follow, 
all leant forward and summoned their very 
keenest attention to bear upon the problem. 

" * The decision would depend,' went on Mr. 
Justice Honey bubble in a tone of finality and 
relief, * upon the conclusion at which you 
would arrive in the former or in the latter 
concatenation of events.' 

" He leant back in his chair, spread out his 
hands amply towards them, as offering them 
well-weighed, unbiassed, and unmoved by a 
tittle, the great body of evidence which he 
had sifted and arranged with such marvellous 

" ' It is for you, gentlemen,' he concluded, 
rising, ' to say which of the two conclusions 
in your conscience after all that you have 


heard is the true one. Remember that if 
there is the faintest doubt in the mind of any- 
one of you it is his solemn duty to give the 
benefit of the doubt to that party in the suit 
who would have most advantage from it. I 
believe I have not influenced you in that de- 
cision to the one side or to the other. I hope 
I have not. Certainly I can speak from my 
heart and say that in this very grave and 
important business I have tried to preserve 
and lay before you a general view which 
should be absolutely impartial; and now I 
must leave you to your decision.' 

*' With this Sir Thingumbob Honeybubble 
nodded to all present, seized his staff, and, 
passing briskly through the door, left them 
drowned in a tremendous silence. As he 
went out he had the kindly thought to order 
the replenishment of their mugs, and so, 
glancing at his watch, he went at a smart 
pace down the road past Burton Rough to the 
station. But he went through the darkness 
smiling to himself all the way and humming 
a little tune. 

*' Now was not that a fine full-fed judge and 


worthy of being remembered as he is through- 
out this valley for that famous decision ? " 
• ••••• 

When I had told them all this we took the 
road again, thinking about lawyers and talk- 
ing of them, and from that the conversation 
came by an easy stage to moneylenders, and 
from them again to traitors, and so we passed 
in review all the principal activities of man- 
kind in the space of about one mile, until we 
had exhausted every matter, and there was 
no more to be said. 

After this we all fell silent and tailed off, 
Grizzlebeard going ahead and getting further 
and further from us in great thoughtful 
strides, and the Poet about half-way between; 
but the Sailor and I taking it easy, for it 
was agreed between us that we should all 
meet at the next Inn whatever it might be. 
That Inn we found no more than two miles 
along the road. 

And when we had picked up the Poet, who 
was waiting there for us, he told us that 
Grizzlebeard had gone in about a quarter of 
an hour before, and that he feared that he 


must have got into some entertainment, for 
all that time he had not come out or made 
a sign ; so, said the Poet, we ought all to go 
in and find him. 

So we turned into that little house as in 
duty bound, seeing that it was five miles since 
we had last acknowledged the goodness of 
God in the drinking of ale, which is a kind 
of prayer, as it says in the motto : 

" Laborare est orare sed potare clarior" 

which signifies that work is noble, and 
prayer its equal, but that drinking good ale 
is a more renowned and glorious act than 
any other to which man can lend himself. 
And on this account it is that you have a 
God of Wine, and of various liquors sundry 
other Gods, that is. Imaginations of men or 
Demons, but in the matter of ale no need 
for symbol, only that it is King. 

But when we came up to the house, and 
turned into it, we found that Grizzlebeard, 
who had gone in already before us, was in that 
short time deeply engaged with a Stranger 
who, maugre Heaven, was drinking tea 1 


There they sat, hardly noticing our entry, 
and were at it hammer and tongs in an 

The Stranger was a measly sort of fellow 
in a cloak, tall, and with a high voice and 
words of a cultured kind, and his eyes were 
like dead oysters, which are unpleasing things ; 
and he and Grizzlebeard, though they had so 
recently met, were already in the midst of 
as terrible a balderdash of argument as ever 
the good angels have permitted on this sad 

We spoke to Grizzlebeard loudly, but the 
stranger paid no attention to us. 

We were very much astonished and looked 
round -eyed at this, but Grizzlebeard only 
looked up and nodded. He was too much 
caught by the discussion to do more. 

" I should meet that," he was saying, " by 
a dichotomy." 

*' By a what ? " said the Sailor. 

The Poet. *' By something German I 

But Grizzlebeard, paying no heed to us at all, 
said to his earnest fellow : '* Not teleological ; 


you must not think that ; but, if you like, still 
less ateleological." 

Myself. " Good, nor ontological I hope, for 
that is the very Devil." 

The Stranger, purposely ignoring us, then 
replied to Grizzlebeard alone : 

" The argument cannot be met thus, because 
though you will not postulate the reality of 
time as a process, you must admit it as a 

" Not under compulsion ! " said the Sailor 

But Grizzlebeard, as though we three were 
not there, replied to the Stranger : 

"The word ' dimension ' is a petitio elenchV 

The Stranger {eagerly). " There I pin you, 
that is sheer Monism ! " 

Grizzlebeard {moi^e eagerly still). "Not at 
all! Not at all! On the contrary. Monism 
would be your position." 

The Sailor {to the Poet and Myself). " Let 
us go hence, my children, and drink in the 
bar with common men, for the Devil will 
very soon come in by the window and fly 
away with these philosophers. Let us be 


apart in some safe place when the struggle 

With that we all went out and stayed 
about ten minutes, drinking with certain 
labouring men, and paying for their drinks, 
because we were better off than they. And 
to these men we told such lies as we thought 
might entertain them, and then, after about 
twenty minutes, the Sailor said to us : 

The Sailor. " Those two hateful ones we 
have left must by this time have come to the 
foundations of the world, and have thoroughly 
thrashed it out how it was that God laid 
down the roots of the hills, and why mill- 
stones and the world are round, and even 
whether they have free will or no : a thing 
never yet discovered save through the Baston- 
nade. But come, let us rout them out I 
I know this philosophy : when men are at it 
they chain themselves down for hours." 

With that he led us back to the room, and 
sure enough we heard them still at it hammer 
and tongs, and Grizzlebeard was saying, lean- 
ing forward, and half standing up in his 
excitement ; 


" Why then, there you are I With the 
content of reaUty expressed in contradictory 
terms 1 " 

The Stranger. " There is no contradiction, 
but a variety of aspect, which is resolved in 
a higher unity." 

The Sailor (in a solemn tone). " Grizzle- 
beard 1 Darkness will soon fall upon the 
Weald, and before it falls we must be beyond 
GrafFham, nay, far beyond. So make up 
your mind, either to differ with this honest 
gentleman, or to give way to him here and 
at once. And in any case you are to find 
your God " (and here he took out his watch) 
"within exactly ten minutes from now, for 
if you do not we will find Him for you in a 
sudden way. So in ten minutes find us also 
in the common bar, or perish in your sins I " 

Then we all three went out again, and 
heard from the common bar a singing going 
on, the chorus of which was Golier, which is 
indeed the true chorus of all songs, and the 
footing or underwork of every sort of common 
chant and roar of fellowship. But when we 
came in again the poorer men from shyness 

(1,655) a 


stopped. Only the Sailor said to them, ** I 
think we must sing you a new song, which 
they are singing, out Horsham way, of Duke 
William ; but you must remember it, for I 
cannot write it down." And with that he 
sang at them this verse : 

" Duke William was a wench's son, 

His grandfer was a tanner ! 
He drank his cider from the tun, 

Which is the Norman manner : 
His throne was made of oak and gold, 

His bow-shaft of the yew — 
That is the way the tale is told, 

I doubt if it be true ! 

" But what care I for him ? 
My tankard is full to the brim, 
And I'll sing Elizabeth^ Dorothy, 
Margaret, Mary, Dorinda, Perse- 
phone, Miriam, 
Pegotty taut and trim. 

" The men that sailed to Normandy 

Foul weather may they find ; 
For banging about in the waist of a ship 

Was never to my mind. 
They drink their rum in the glory-hole 

In quaking and in fear ; 
But a better man was left behind, 

And he sits drinking beer. 


" But what care I for the swine ? 

They never were fellows of mine ! 

And I'll sing Elizabeth, Dorothy, 

Margaret, Mary, Dorinda, 

Persephone, Miriam, Pegotty, 

Jezebel, Topsy, Andromeda." 

The Poet. " To your aid with She-dactyls — 

" Magdalen, Emily, Charity, Agatha, Beatrice, 
Anna, Cecilia, Maud, Cleopatra, Selene, 
and Jessica. . . ." 

The Sailor {clinching it) — 

" Barbara stout and fine." 

Myself {to the company). " Now is not that 
a good song, and does it not remind you of 
Duke William, who so kindly came over here 
to this county many years ago, and rid us of 
north countrymen for ever ? " 

One man in the company said that he 
could not remember this song, but wished it 
written down, to which the Sailor answered 
that this could not be because it was copy- 
right, but that, God willing, he would be 
passing that way again next year or the year 
after, and then would give it them once more, 
so that they could have it by heart, and when 


he had said this, he put down money so that 
they all might drink again when he had 
gone, and led us back to the room where 
the Stranger and Grizzlebeard were. But he 
took with him a full tankard of beer, and that 
for reasons which will presently be seen. 

For he stopped outside the door behind which 
we could hear the voices of the disputants 
still at it with their realities and their contents, 
and their subjectivities and their objectivities, 
and their catch-it-as-it-flies, and he said to us : 

The Sailor. " Have you not seen two dogs 
wrangling in the street, and how they will 
Gna ! Gna ! and Wurrer-Wurrer all to no 
purpose whatsoever, but solely because it is 
the nature of dogs thus dog-like to be-dog 
the wholesome air with dogged and canicular 
noise of no purport, value, or conclusion? 
And when this is on have you not seen how 
good housewives, running from their doors, 
best stop the noisome noise and drown it 
altogether by slop, bang, douches of cold 
wet from a pail, which does dis-spirit the 
empty disputants, and, causing them imme- 
diately to unclinch, humps them off to more 


useful things ? So it is with philosophers, 
who will snarl and yowl and worry the 
clean world to no purpose, not even intend- 
ing a solution of any sort or a discovery, but 
only the exercise of their vain clapper and 
clang. Also they have made for this same 
game as infernal a set of barbaric words 
as ever were blathered and stumbled over 
by Attila the king when the Emperor of 
Constantinople's Court Dentist pulled out his 
great back teeth for the enlargement of his 
jaw. Now this kind of man can be cured 
only by baptism, which is of four kinds, by 
water, by blood, and by desire : and the 
fourth kind is of beer. So watch me and 
what I will do." 

Then he went in ahead of us, and we all 
came in behind, and when we came in neither 
Grizzlebeard nor the Stranger looked up for 
one moment, but Grizzlebeard was saying, 
with vast scorn : 

" You are simply denying cause and effect, 
or rather efficient causality." 

To which the Stranger answered solemnly, 
« I do 1 " 


On hearing this reply the Sailor, very 
quickly and suddenly, hurled over him all 
that was in the pint pot of beer, saying 
hurriedly as he did so, "I baptize you in the 
name of the five senses," and having done 
so, ran out as hard as he could with us two 
at his heels, and pegged it up the road at top 
speed, and never drew rein until he got to 
the edge of Jockey's Spinney half a mile 
away, and we following, running hard close 
after, and there we found him out of breath 
and laughing, gasping and catching, and 
glorying in his great deed. 

*' Now," said he, "I warrant you, Grizzle- 
beard will come up in good time, and though 
he will be angry he will be confused." 

Sure enough, Grizzlebeard came up after 
us, somewhat more than a quarter of an hour 
behind, and though he was angry, the hill had 
taken up some of his anger and had blown 
him, and when he had cursed at the Sailor, 
and had told him that the Stranger was, in 
a sense, his guest, the Sailor bade him be at 
ease, saying that the Stranger was, in a sense, 
his boredom and intolerable drag, and that 


had he not done violence we should never 
have got on the road at all. 

" But tell me," he added, *' did you not 
settle anything by the time we got away? 
You had been at it a good hour, and one 
would think that men could find out in that 
time whether they had a Maker or no, and 
what Dimension was and what Degree." 

But Grizzlebeard was surly and would not 
answer him, and in the slow recovery of his 
temper the road seemed long enough : more 
particularly through the Poet, who, thinking 
to be genial, began to rattle off a judgment 
of the world and to say that it was a good 
thing to agree, and also to bend oneself 
to practical matters ; and thence to talking 
of fanatics, and so to maundering on of 
authority, and saying that any man could do 
well with his life if he only had the sense not 
to offend those who were his superiors on his 
way upwards, and to pay decent attention to 
what those in control desired of him. 

To this sort of balance Grizzlebeard, being 
the oldest of us, would have agreed ; but in 
his anger, which, though it was declining, still 


smouldered, he chose to contradict, and he 
said in a gruff way : 

Grizzlebeard. "What our fathers called 
'selling one's soul.' Yes; it is the easiest 
and the worst thing a man can do." 

The Sailor. " The worst, perhaps, though 
I'm not so sure of it, but the easiest, oh no I 
And I say I am not so sure it is the worst. 
For one never sells anything unless one is 
hard up, and hard-up men are never really 
wicked; it is the rich that are wicked. At 
least so I have always been told by the poor, 
who are not only the great majority of men 
and therefore Hkely to be right, but also 
have no interest to serve in saying what they 
say. . . . But easy, no I Do not tell me it 
is easy, so long as there stands for a dreadful 
example the story of Peter the Politician, 
which all the world should hear." 

Grizzlebeard. "And all the world has 
heard it." 

The Sailor {sweetly). " But not you, Grizzle- 
beard, so I must give it at due length to spin 
the road out and to do you especial honour." 

Grizzlebeard (milder). " Do so, then. Even 


your tale may be less dull than tramping the 
last hour of a day in silence." 

The Sailor. " You must know, then, that 
Peter the Politician, after having sold every 
public honour which he could drag upon the 
counter and every pubUc office and every kind 
of power except his own, and after he had 
sold his country and his friends and his father 
and his mother and even his children, and his 
self-respect of course, and all the rest of it, 
had nothing left to sell but his very soul. 
But sell that he must, for have money he 
must ; without money no man can live the 
Great Life and go out to dine in the new 
hotels that are built out of iron and plaster, 
and the Lord have mercy on us all I 

" Well then, Peter the Politician did up his 
soul in a little brown paper parcel, all beauti- 
fully sealed with sealing-wax and tied up with 
expensive string ; for the public pay for these 
things where politicians are concerned. 

" He did up his soul, did I say, into this 
little parcel ? I err ! It was his secretary 
that did it up; not his unpaid secretary — his 
real secretary, a humble little man. 


" For you must know that politicians have 
three kinds of secretaries : the first kind, who 
may be called Secretarius Maximus, is a rich 
man's son, and his place has been paid for : he 
is called secretary so that he may be advanced 
to office, and he does nothing at aU except 
ride about in a motor-car and come and sit by 
when there is any jabbering to be done for his 
master. Then there is the second kind of 
secretary, who is usually a friend's son, and 
may be called Secretarius Minor ; he expects 
no advancement to a politician's future, but 
only some little job or other in the Civil 
Service after his years of labour. And his 
labour is this : to teU the third secretary what 
he has to do. Now this third secretary, who 
may be called Secretarius Minimus, receives 
the sum of thirty shillings every Saturday, 
and for this he must sweat and toil and be 
at beck and call, and go to bed late and get 
up early, and wear himself to a shadow, and 
then at forty go and be a secretary at less 
wages if he can get the job, or else hang him- 
self or stand in a row for soup on the Embank- 
ment ; and there is an end of him. 


"Well, then, I say it was this third or 
working secretary who had done up Peter the 
Politician's soul in a pretty little parcel, in 
brown paper paid out of the taxes, with fine 
red seals paid out of the taxes, and with 
strong, thin, and splendid string paid out of 
the taxes ; and since the politician was very 
careful about his soul and it did not weigh 
much, he took it with him himself and set off 
to the Devil's office to sell it ; and where that 
office was he knew very well, for he had 
spent most of his time there while he was a 
young man, and had served his apprenticeship 
in another part of the same building. 

"When Peter the Politician sent in his 
card he was received with great courtesy by 
the Limbo-man who kept the doors, and he 
was asked to sit down on a chair in a sort of 
little private outer room where distinguished 
people await the pleasure of the Head Devil. 

" In this little outer room there were one or 
two books to read about problems, especially 
marriage, and there were some prints upon 
the wall which were not well done and which 
the Devil had taken as a bad debt from a 


publisher ; and there was also a calendar, 
but there were no Saints' Days marked on 
it, as you may well believe, but only the 
deaths of conspicuous people, and Peter the 
Politician did not study it. 

*' Now when he had been sitting there for 
about an hour without the need of a fire, 
there came in a neat httle tight little dressed- 
up- to -the -nines little Imp in buttons, who 
was very polite indeed, and told him how 
sorry His Master was to keep Peter the 
Politician waiting, but the fact was he was 
in the midst of a great deal of business. 
Then the little Imp went out and left Peter 
the Politician alone — and he waited another 
two hours. 

" At the end of this time another taller and 
older Imp, dressed not in buttons, but in a 
fine tail-coat (for he was a Tailed Imp), came 
in and apologised more than ever and said 
that His Master the Head Devil was ex- 
tremely sorry to keep Peter the Politician 
waiting, but would he kindly send in what 
his business was, and he hoped it would 
immediately be attended to? 


"Then Peter the Politician answered in 
his short, dignified way that he had come 
to sell his soul. 

" * Of course I Of course ! ' said the tail- 
coated Imp. * Dear me I You must excuse 
me ; we have so much to do to-day that we 
are really run off our hooves. Of course,' he 
added, anxiously polite, * there is a regular 
office . . .' 

"* Yes, yes, I know,' said Peter the Politician 
as impatiently as his dignity would allow. * I 
know all about that office, but under the 
circumstances and seeing that I am known 
here . . ,' 

" * Yes, of course ! ' said the big Imp again, 
and he went out hurriedly, and Peter the 
Politician was kept waiting another two 

"He hummed a little and he shuffled his feet, 
and he drummed with his fingers, and he be- 
gan very seriously to think whether he would 
not go somewhere else, only he knew of no 
one out of Hell who wanted his soul. So he 
sighed at last and continued to wait with as 
much resignation as he could. 


"And after another two hours there came 
in a very tall, gentlemanly, and deep-voiced 
Major Devil, who told him how exceedingly 
sorry he was that His Master should have 
to keep him waiting, especially now they 
knew the nature of his business, but the 
pressure of work that day was really awful 1 
And would Peter the PoUtician, for this 
once, be kind enough to send in his offer, 
because the Head Devil really could not 
come out? 

" So Peter the Politician said severely — 

" * Luckily I have brought the goods with 
me.' And he handed the Major Devil his 
nice little brown paper parcel, and the Major 
Devil went out apologising. 

" Then Peter the Politician was kept waiting 
another two hours. At the end of it there 
came in a really superior Devil with his hair 
parted in the middle and a stand up- and- 
turndown collar, and the accent, and every- 
thing. He sat down genially at the same 
table as Peter the PoUtician, and leant 
towards him and said most affably and 


" * My dear sir, my Master is very sorry 
indeed, but there has been a terrible slump 
in this sort of thing since August ; the 
bottom is quite knocked out of the market, 
and — and — well, to tell you straight out, 
what we want to know is how many you 
have to offer?' 

*' ' How many ! ' said Peter the Politician, 
with a real annoyance unworthy of his 

*' ' Yes,' said the suave and really important 
Secretary Devil (for such he was), 'the fact 
is, my Master says he can't quote for these 
singly in the present state of the market, but 
if you could bring a gross . . .* 

'* At this Peter the Politician got up swear- 
ing, and went out, forgetting to take his soul 
with him, and leaving it there on the table all 
tied up. 

" And that is why some people go about 
saying that he has lost his soul, for he cer- 
tainly never sold it ; and this should teach 
you that it is not easy to sell one's soul, 
though it is exceedingly easy to lose it or 
to give it away." 


The Poet {with great interest). " This is the 
very first time I have heard this story 1 " 

Myself. " It is not the fifteenth that I have 
heard it. The first time I heard it was from 
a Yankee, and he told it much quicker and 
better than the Sailor.'* 

The Sailor {angrily). "Then you may go 
back to Yankeeland and hear it there I " 

Myself. " Do not be angry, Sailor, you did 
your best, and I learned several things I did 
not know before. For instance, about that 
calendar ; I never knew why the deaths of 
great men were put down in calendars." 

The Sailor {a little mollified). " Well, you 
know now. And you also know that when 
you want to sell your soul you will have to 
make up a truck-load before you can get 
reasonable rates." 

ChizzlebearcL " I think the Sailor's story is 

The Poet, " I think so too, for he talks 
in a flippant way about things which ought 
to be talked of respectfully." 

Grizzlebeard. "No, not on that account; 
it is immoral because it makes out that souls 


are of different sizes and values. Now it is 
well known that souls are exactly equal, and 
that when you weigh them one against the 
other they do not differ by a grain of sand, 
and when you measure them there is not a 
hundredth of an inch between two of them. 
And that in value they are all precisely the 
same. This has been laid down at no less 
than 572 Synods, three Decisions of the Holy 
Office, and one (Ecumenical Council." 

The Sailor. " Yes, but not in the four first 
Councils, and still less at Nicea, so that 
stumps you I " 

Grizzlebeard {solemnly). " Nicea be 
damned ! " 

Myself. " Very well, by all means, but not 
Trent I hope, which is a very important one, 
and to be quarrelled with only at a high risk." 

" No," said Grizzlebeard, " not Trent, nor 
Constance for that matter, though it troubles 
me more." 

Then we fell silent again. The grey 
evening had advanced as we listened to the 
Sailor's story, and it was growing cold. We 

(1,665) T 


went through the half light and the gloam- 
ing until it was upon the edge of darkness, 
time for the evening meal. And we were 
so weary with the many, many miles of that 
day that we agreed together to sleep if it 
were possible in the same place we might 
eat at, that is, in the next inn. For we were 
now near the end of all the road we had 
to go, being but a mile or two from the 
County border. And as we went we debated 
our last feast and our last conversation, our 
last songs, and our necessary farewells. 

" My friends," said I, " all men before 
death make a feast if they can. It is an 
ancient custom, and one well approved by 
time. Feast before battle if you can, and 
before death which may come in battle. All 
such death as comes to men in health, it is 
well to feast before it. Now, with to-morrow 
morning we shall come to the end of this 
little journey of ours, all along the County, all 
the way from end to end. Thus we shall 
attain, as you may say, the death of our 
good time. For it is agreed between us 
that when we come to the Hampshire border 


we shall separate and see each other no 

The Sailor, " Yes, that is agreed." 

Myself. " Well, then, let us make a feast." 

The Poet. By all means, and who shall 

Grizzlebeard. "In general it is I that should 
pay, for I am the richest. We have made no 
feast in all these days, but since this is to be a 
solemn sort of feast, and a kind of Passover 
(for we are soon to pass over the boundary 
into Hampshire), every man must give his 

Myself. " r am very willing, only if I do so, 
I must call the food and drink." 

The Sailor. " I am not willing at all, but 
unwilling as I am, most certainly will I eat 
nothing and drink nothing to which I am not 

The Poet. " In the matter of eating and 
drinking 1 am with you all, but in the matter 
of paying I differ from you altogether, for 
I have nothing." 

Myself. *• How is this. Poet ? It was only 
to-day that I saw you with my own eyes at 


the Bluebell paying for a mug of beer with 
a labouring man." 

The Poet " It was my last money, and I 
did it for charity." 

The Sailor. " Then now you may have the 
reward of charity and starve." 

Myself, " No, no, there is a way out of 
these matters which is quite unknown to 
children and to savages, but open to men 
of intelligence and culture as are we. It is 
to do things by way of paper instead of metal. 
A fund shall be formed, each one shall pay 
into the fund a piece of paper on which shall 
be written, * I will meet one-quarter of the 
bill,' and each man shall sign. When this is 
done, one of us four shall be the financier, 
and shall pay the bill. Then the paper will 
be called in, and I will pay, and Grizzlebeard 
will pay, and the Sailor will pay, but you, 
the Poet, will not pay, and you will be 
adjudicated bankrupt." 

Grizzlebeard. " Yes, your principle is right 
in the main, but I demur to the simplicity 
of your last clause. I will not allow the 
honest Poet to go bankrupt. I will buy up 


his paper, and he shall be my slave for life, 
and if I can so arrange it, his family for a 
good time after as well." 

The Poet. "I shall be delighted. Grizzle- 
beard, and I will pay you my debt in songs." 

Grizzlebeard. *' Not if I know it. You 
will pay it in cash and at interest, and as 
to how you shall earn it, that is your look- 

Myself. "Well, anyhow, it is determined 
that we make a feast, and I say for my 
part that there must be in this feast bacon 
and eggs fried together in one pan, and 
making a great commonalty in one dish." 

The Sailor. "Excellent; and the drink 
shall be beer." 

The Poet. " Besides this, what we need is 
two large cottage loaves of new bread, and 
butter, and some kind of cheese." 

Myself. " Poet, did you not tell me that 
you were of this County and of this land ? " 

The Poet. " I did." 

Myself. " I think you lied. Who in 
Sussex ever heard of ' some kind of cheese ' ? 
You might as well talk in Hereford of 


' some kind of cider,' or in Kent of * some 
kind of foreigner ' coming over by their boats 
from the foreign lands. I think you must 
have been out of Sussex, Poet, for many 
years of your life, and at the wrong time." 

The Poet. " Why, that is true." 

Myself. " And, undoubtedly, Poet, you 
acquired in other counties a habit of eating 
that Gorgonzola cheese, which is made of 
soap in Connecticut ; and Stilton, which is 
not made at Stilton ; and Camembert, and 
other outlandish things. But in Sussex, let 
me tell you, we have but one cheese, the 
name of which is Cheese. It is One; and 
undivided, though divided into a thousand 
fragments, and unchanging, though changing 
in place and consumption. There is in Sussex 
no Cheese but Cheese, and it is the same true 
Cheese from the head of the Eastern Rother 
to Harting Hill, and from the sea-beach to 
that part of Surrey which we gat from the 
Marches with sword and with bow. In 
colour it is yellow, which is the right colour 
of Cheese. It is neither young nor old. Its 
taste is that of Cheese, and nothing more. A 


man may live upon it all the days of his 

Grizzlebeai'd. "Well, then, there is to be 
bacon and eggs and bread and cheese and 
beer, and after that' " 

Myself. " After that every man shall call 
for his ow^n, and the Poet shall drink cold 
water. But I will drink port, and if I taste 
in it the jolly currant wine of my county, 
black currants from the little bushes which I 
know so well, then I shall give praise to 
God. For I would rather drink that kind of 
port which is all Sussex from vine to vat, 
and brewed as the Sussex Men brew, than any 
of your concoctions of the Portuguese, which 
are but elderberry, liquorice, and boiled wine." 

As we thus decided upon the nature of 
the feast, the last of the light, long declined, 
had faded upon the horizon behind the lattice- 
work of bare branches. The air was pure and 
cold, as befitted A 11- Hallows, and the far 
edges of the Downs toward the Hampshire 
border had level lines of light above them, 
deeply coloured, full of departure and of rest. 
There was a little mist upon the meadows of 


the Rother, and a white line of it in the 
growing darkness under the edges of the hills. 
It was not yet quite dark, but the first stars 
had come into the sky, and the pleasant scent 
of the wood fires was already strong upon 
the evening air when we found ourselves out- 
side a large inn standing to the north of the 
road, behind a sort of green recess or common. 
Here were several carts standing out in the 
open, and a man stood with a wagon and 
a landaulette or two, and dogcarts as well, 
drawn up in the great courtyard. 

The lower rooms of this old inn were 
brilliantly lighted. The small square panes 
of it were shaded with red curtains, through 
which that light came to us on our cold 
evening way, and we heard the songs of 
men within ; for there had been some sort 
of sale, I think, which had drawn to this 
place many of the farmers from around, and 
some of the dealers and other smaller men. 

So we found it when we knocked at the 
door and were received. There was a pleasant 
bar, and opening out of it a large room in 
which some fifteen or twenty men, all hearty, 


some of them old, were assembled, and all 
these were drinking and singing. 

Their meal was long done, but we ordered 
ours, which was of such excellence in the way 
of eggs and bacon, as we had none of us 
until that moment thought possible upon 
this side of the grave. The cheese also, of 
which I have spoken, was put before us, and 
the new cottage loaves, so that this feast, 
unlike any other feast that yet was since the 
beginning of the world, exactly answered to 
all that the heart had expected of it, and we 
were contented and were filled. 

Then we lit our pipes, and called each for 
our own drink, I, for my black currant port, 
and Grizzlebeard for brandy ; the Poet, at 
the Sailor's expense, for beer, and the Sailor 
himself for claret. Then, these before us, 
we sat ourselves at the great table, and 
saluted the company. But we were not 
allowed to make more conversation before 
an old man present there, sitting at the head 
of the table, one with a small grey beard and 
half-shut considering eyes, struck the board 
very loudly with his fist, and cried " Golier " — 


which appeared to be a sort of symbol, for on 
his saying this word, all the rest broke out 
in chorus : 

" And I will sing Golier ! 
Golier, Golier, Golier, Golier, 
And I wiU sing Golier ! " 

When this verse (which is the whole of 
the poem) had been repeated some six times, 
I knew myself indeed to be still in my own 
County, and I was glad inside my heart, like 
a man who hears the storm upon the win- 
dows, but is himself safe houseled by the fire. 
So did I know Hampshire to be stretching 
waste a mile or two beyond, but here was I 
safe among my own people by the token that 
they were singing that ancient song " Golier." 

When they had sung as many verses of 
this, our national anthem, as they saw fit, a 
young man called for " Mas'r Charles," and 
from an extreme corner of the table there 
came this answer : 

"If so be as I do carl or be carled 
upon. . . ." 

But he did not finish it, for they all took 
up very loudly the cry, " Mas'r Charles, 


Mas'r Charles," whereupon the very old man, 
rising to his very old feet, put his very old 
hands upon the table, bending forward, and 
looking upwards with a quizzical face full of 
years and expectation, said : 

*' Arl I can sing were that song o' Calif orny, 
that were sixty year ago," and he chuckled. 
Then said another old man near by : 

" Ar, there you do talk right, Mas'r Charles. 
There were Hewlett's Field, what some called 
Howlett's Field, which come to be called 
* Calif orny ' in that same time when ..." 
but the younger men who could not hear him 
were calling out : 

"Mas'r Charles, Mas'r Charles," until 
silence was created again by the hammer of 
the chairman's fist, who very solemnly called 
upon Mas'r Charles, and Mas'r Charles in a 
quavering voice gave us the ancient dirge : 

" I am sailing for America 
That far foreign strand, 
And I whopes to set foot 
In a fair fruitful land. 


But in the midst of the ocean 
May grow the green apple tree 
Avoor I prove faalse 
To the girl that loves me. 

The moon shall be in darkness. 
And the stars give no light 
But I'll roll you in my arms 
On a cold frosty night. 
And in the midst of the ocean 
May grow the green apple tree." 

Here the company, overcome by the melan- 
choly of such things, joined all together in a 
great moan : 

" Avoor I prove faalse 
To the girl that loves me." 

This song so profoundly affected us all, and 
particularly the Poet, that for some moments 
we were not for another, when the Sailor 
looking up in an abrupt fashion, said : 

" Gentlemen, I will sing you a song, but 
it is on condition you can join in the chorus." 

To which the chairman far off at the end 
of the table answered : 

" Ar, Mister, if so be as we know it." 

Then a younger man protested : 

*' Nout but what we can arl on us sing it 


arter un," and this was the general opinion. 
So when that fist at the end of the table had 
performed its regular ritual, and when also 
more beer had been brought as the occasion 
demanded, the Sailor began to shout at the 
top of his voice, and without undue melody, 
this noble song, the chorus of which he parti- 
cularly emphasised, so that it was readily 
repeated by all our friends : 

" Thou ugly, lowering, treacherous Quean 
I think thou art the Devil ! 
To pull them down the rich and mean. 
And bring them to one leveL 
Of all my friends 
That found their ends 
By only following thee. 
How many I tell 
Already in Hell, 
So shall it not be with me ! " 

On hearing this last line they all banged 
and roared heartily, and shouted in enormous 
voices : 

*• Zo zhaU ee not be, 
Zo zhall ee not be, 
Zo zhall ee not be wi' me ! " 

which, by zealous repetition, they made a 
chorus, and one old fellow that had his chin 


very nearly upon the table said, " Aye, marster I 
But who be she ? " 

" Why," said the Sailor, " She whom we 
rail at in this song is that Spirit of getting- 
on-ed-ness and making out our life at the 
expense of our fellow men and of our own 

" We mun arl get on ! If so be as can I " 
said a young miller from down the valley. 

"Yes," said the Sailor shortly, "but let 
me tell you they overdo it in the towns. I 
do not blame your way . . . and anyhow 
the song must go on," whereat he began the 
second verse : 

" I knew three fellows were in yoxir thrall. 

Got more than they could cany, 
The first might drink no wine at all. 

And the second he would not marry ; 
The third in seeking golden earth 

Was drownded in the sea, 
Which taught him what your wage is worth, 

So shall it not be with me ! " 

And they all cried out as before : 

" Zo zhall ee not be, 
Zo zhall ee not be, 
2k) zhall ee not be wi' me." 


Then the Sailor began again : 

" There was Peter Bell of North Chappel, 

Was over hard and sparing, 
He spent no penny of all his many, 

And died of over caring ; 
He saved above two underd pound 

But his widow spent it free, 
And turned the town nigh upside down. 

So shall it not be with me ! " 

And again, but more zealously than before, 
they gave him their chorus, for they all knew 
North Chapel, and several wagged their 
heads and laughed, and one more aged liar 
said that he remembered the widow. 

But the Sailor concluding sang, with more 
voice than even he had given us in all those 
days : 

" Then mannikins bang the table roimd, 
For the younger son o' the Squire, 
Who never was blest of penny or pound, 
But got his heart's desire. 
Oh, the Creditors' curse 
Might follow his hearse, 
For all that it mattered to he ! 
They were easy to gammon 
From worshipping Mammon, 
So shaU it not be with me ! " 


And in one mighty chorus they all applauded 
and befriended him, shouting : 

" Zo zhall ee not be 
Zo zhall ee not be 
Zo zhall ee not be wi' me." 

"Arl but that be main right I" said the 
chief moneylender of that place, his eyes all 
beaming; and indeed for the moment you 
would have thought that not one of them 
but had renounced the ambitions of this 
world, while the Sailor hummed to himself 
in a murmur : 

"And Absalom, 

That was a King's son. 
Was hanged on a tree. 

When he the Kingdom would have won. 
So shall it not be with me ! " 

The time had now come when the guests 
must be going save those who were to sleep 
in the house that night, and whose cattle 
were stabled there. But when Grizzlebeard 
and I asked the host apart whether there 
were room for us, he said there was not, not 
even in his barn where many would that night 
lie upon the straw. But if we would pay our 


reckoning we might sleep (and he would give 
us blankets and rugs for it) before that fire 
in that room. 

We told him we would be off early, we 
paid our reckoning, and so for the third time 
in those three nights we were to sleep once 
more as men sleep in wars, but by this time 
our bones were hardened to it. 

And when the last man had gone his way 
to bed or barn we were left with one candle, 
and we made our camp as best 
we could before the fire, and slept 
the last sleep of that good 





I WOKE sharply and suddenly from a dream 
in that empty room. It was Grizzlebeard 
that had put his hand upon my shoulder. 
The late winter dawn was barely glimmer- 
ing, and there was mist upon the heath 
outside and rime upon the windows. 

I woke and shuddered. For in my dream 
I had come to a good place, the place inside 
the mind, which is all made up of remem- 
brance and of peace. Here I had seemed 
to be in a high glade of beeches, standing 


on soft, sweet grass on a slope very high 
above the sea; the air was warm and the 
sea was answering the sunlight, very far 
below me. It was such a place as my own 
Downs have made for me in my mind, but 
the Downs transfigured, and the place was 
full of glory and of content, height and 
great measurement fit for the beatitude of 
the soul. Nor had I in that dream any 
memory of loss, but rather a complete end 
of it, and I was surrounded, though I could 
not see them, with the return of all those 
things that had ever been my own. But 
this was in the dream only; and when I 
woke it was to the raw world and the 
sad uncertain beginnings of a little winter 

Grizzlebeard, who had woken me, said 
gravely : 

** We must be up early. Let us waken 
the others also, and take the road, for we 
are near the end of our journey. We have 
come to the term and boundary of this 
short passage of ours, and of our brief com- 
panionship, for we must reach the County 


border in these early hours. So awake, and 
waken the others." 

Then I woke the other two, who also 
stirred and looked wearily at the thin, grey 
light, but rose in their turn, and then I said 
to Grizzlebeard : 

" Shall we not eat before we start to the 
place after which we shall not see each other 
any more ? " 

But he said, "No, we have but a little 
way to go, and when we have gone that 
little way together, we will break a crust 
between us, and pledge each other if you 
will, and then we shall never see each other 
any more." 

The others also said that this was the way 
in which the matter should be accomplished. 

Yielding to them, therefore (for I perceived 
that they were greater than I), we went out 
into the morning mist and walked through 
it sturdily enough, but silent, the sounds of 
our footsteps coming close into our ears, 
blanketed and curtained by the fog. For a 
mile and second mile and a third no one 
of us spoke a word to another. But as I 


walked along I looked furtively first to one 
side and then to the other, judging my com- 
panions, whom chance had given me for these 
few hours ; and it seemed to me (whether from 
the mist or what not) that they were taller 
than men ; and their eyes avoided my eyes. 

When we had come to Treyford, Grizzle- 
beard, who was by dumb assent at this 
moment our leader, or at any rate certainly 
mine, took that lane northward which turns 
through Redlands and up to the hill of 
Elstead and its inn. Then for the first 
time he spoke and said : 

"Here we will break a loaf, and pledge 
each other for the last time." 

Which we did, all sitting quite silent, and 
then again we took the road, and went for- 
ward as we had gone forward before, until 
we came to Harting. And when we came 
to Harting, just in the village street of it, 
Grizzlebeard, going forward a little more 
quickly, drew with him his two companions, 
and they stood before me, barring the road 
as it were, and looking at me kindly, but 
halting my advance. 


1 said to them, a little afraid, " Do you 
make for our parting now? We are not 
yet come to the county border!" 

But Grizzlebeard said (the others keeping 
silent) : — 

" Yes. As we met upon this side of the 
county border, so shall we part before we 
cross it. Nor shall you cross it with us. 
But these my companions and I, when we 
have crossed it must go each to our own 
place: but you are perhaps more fortunate, 
for you are not far from your home." 

When he had said this, I was confused to 
wonder from his voice and from the larger 
aspect of himself and his companions, whether 
indeed they were men. 

"... And is there," I said, "in all the 
county another such company of four; shall 
I find even one companion like any of you ? 
Now who is there to-day that can pour out 
songs as you can at every hour and make up 
the tunes as well ? And even if they could 
so sing, would any such man or men be of one 
faith with me ? 

" Come back with me," I said, " along the 


crest of the Downs ; we will overlook to- 
gether the groves at Lavington and the 
steep at Bury Combe, and then we will 
turn south and reach a house I know of 
upon the shingle, upon the tide, near where 
the Roman palaces are drowned beneath the 
Owers ; and to-night once more, and if you 
will for the last time, by another fire we 
will sing yet louder songs, and mix them 
with the noise of the sea." 

But Grizzlebeard would not even linger. He 
looked at me with a dreadful solemnity and said : 

'* No ; we are all three called to other 
things. But do you go back to your home, 
for the journey is done." 

Then he added (but in another voice); 
" There is nothing at all that remains : nor 
any house ; nor any castle, however strong ; 
nor any love, however tender and sound; 
nor any comradeship among men, however 
hardy. Nothing remains but the things of 
which 1 will not speak, because we have 
spoken enough of them already during these 
four days. But I who am old will give you 
advice, which is this — to consider chiefly from 


now onward those permanent things which 
are, as it were, the shores of this age and 
the harbours of our gHttering and pleasant 
but dangerous and wholly changeful sea." 

When he had said this (by which he meant 
Death), the other two, looking sadly at me, 
stood silent also for about the time in which 
a man can say good-bye with reverence. Then 
they all three turned about and went rapidly 
and with a purpose up the village street. 

I watched them, straining my sad eyes, but 
in a moment the mist received them and they 
had disappeared. 

• • • • • • 

I went up in gloom, by the nearest spur, 
on to the grass and into the loneliness of the 
high Downs that are my brothers and my 
repose ; and, once upon their crest, setting 
my face eastward I walked on in a fever for 
many hours back towards the places from 
which we had come ; and below me as I went 
was that good landscape in which I had passed 
such rare and memorable hours. 

I still went on, through little spinnies here 
and there, and across the great wave tops and 


rolls of the hills, and as the day proceeded 
and the Hght declined about me I still went 
on, now dipping into the gaps where tracks 
and roads ran over the chain, now passing for 
a little space into tall and silent woods wher- 
ever these might stand. And all the while 
I came nearer and nearer to an appointed spot 
of which a memory had been fixed for years 
in my mind. But as I strode, with such a 
goal in view, an increasing loneliness oppressed 
me, and the air of loss and the echo of those 
profound thoughts which had filled the last 
words we four had exchanged together. 

It was in the grove above Lavington, near 
the mounds where they say old kings are 
buried, that I, still following the crest of my 
hills, felt the full culmination of all the twenty 
tides of mutability which had thus run to- 
gether to make a skerry in my soul. I saw 
and apprehended, as a man sees or touches a 
physical thing, that nothing of our sort 
remains, and that even before my county 
should cease to be itself I should have left 
it. I recognised that I was (and 1 confessed) 
in that attitude of the mind wherein men 


admit mortality; something had already 
passed from me — I mean that fresh and 
vigorous morning of the eyes wherein the 
beauty of this land had been reflected as in 
a tiny mirror of burnished silver. Youth was 
gone out apart ; it was loved and regretted, 
and therefore no longer possessed. 

Then, as I walked through this wood more 
slowly, pushing before me great billows of 
dead leaves, as the bows of a ship push the 
dark water before them, this side and that, 
when the wind blows full on the middle of 
the sail and the water answers loudly as the 
ship sails on, so I went till suddenly I remem- 
bered with the pang that catches men at the 
clang of bells what this time was in Novem- 
ber ; it was the Day of the Dead. All that 
day I had so moved and thought alone and 
fasting, and now the light was falling. I had 
consumed the day in that deep wandering on 
the heights alone, and now it was evening. 
Just at that moment of memory I looked up 
and saw that I was there. I had come upon 
that lawn which I had fixed for all these 
hours to be my goal. 

It is the great platform just over Barl'ton, 


whence all the world lies out before one. East- 
ward into the night for fifty miles stretched 
on the wall of the Downs, and it stretched 
westward towards the coloured sky where a 
full but transfigured daylight still remained. 
Southward was the belt of the sea, very broad, 
as it is from these bare heights, and absolutely 
still ; nor did any animal move in the brush- 
wood near me to insult the majesty of that 
silence. Northward before me and far below 
swept the Weald. 

The haze had gone ; the sky was faint and 
wintry, but pure throughout its circle, and 
above the Channel hung largely the round of 
the moon, still pale, because the dark had not 
yet come. 

But though she had been worshipped so 
often upon such evenings and from such a 
place, a greater thing now moved and took 
me from her, and turning round I looked 
north from the ridge of the steep escarpment 
over the plain to the rivers and the roofs 
of the Weald. I would have blessed them 
had I known some form of word or spell which 
might convey an active benediction, but as I 


knew none such, I repeated instead the list of 
their names to serve in place of a prayer. 

The river A run, a valley of sacred water; 
and Amberley Wild brook, which is lonely 
with reeds at evening ; and Burton Great 
House, where I had spent nights in November ; 
and Lavington also and Hidden Byworth ; 
and Fittleworth next on, and Egdean Side, all 
heath and air ; and the lake and the pine trees 
at the mill ; and Petworth, little town. 

All the land which is knit in with our flesh, 
and yet in which a man cannot find an acre 
nor a wall of his own. 

I knew as this affection urged me that verse 
alone would satisfy something at least of that 
irremediable desire. I lay down therefore at 
full length upon the short grass which the 
sheep also love, and taking out a little stump 
of pencil that I had, and tearing off the back 
of a letter, I held my words prepared 

My metre, which at first eluded me (though 
it had been with me in a way for many hours) 
was given me by these chance lines that came : 

"... and therefore even youth that dies 
May leave of right its legacies." 


I put my pencil upon the paper, doubtfully, 
and drew little lines, considering my theme. 
But I would not long hesitate in this manner, 
for I knew that all creation must be chaos 
first, and then gestures in the void before it 
can cast out the completed thing. So I put 
down in fragments this line and that ; and 
thinking first of how many children below 
me upon that large and fruitful floor were 
but entering what I must perforce abandon, 
I wrote down : 

"... and of mine opulence I leave 
To every Sussex girl and boy 
My lot in universal joy." 

Having written this down, I knew clearly 
what was in my mind. 

The way in which our land and we mix up 
together and are part of the same thing 
sustained me, and led on the separate parts 
of my growing poem towards me ; introducing 
them one by one ; till at last I wrote down 
this further line : 

" One with our random fields we grow." 

And since I could not for the moment fill in 


the middle of the verse, I wrote the end, 
which was already fashioned : 

"... because of lineage and because 
The soil and memories out of mind 
Embranch and broaden all mankind." 

Ah ! but if a man is part of and is rooted 
in one steadfast piece of earth, which has 
nourished him and given him his being, and 
if he can on his side lend it glory and do it 
service (I thought), it will be a friend to him 
for ever, and he has outflanked Death in a way. 

" And I shall pass " (thought 1), " but this shall stand 
Almost as long as No-Man's Land." 

" No, certainly," I answered to myself aloud, 
" he does not die ! " Then from that phrase 
there ran the fugue, and my last stanzas stood 
out clear at once, complete and full, and I 
wrote them down as rapidly as writing can go. 

" He does not die " (I wrote) " that can bequeath 
Some influence to the land he knows. 
Or dares, persistent, interwreath 
Love permanent with the wild hedgerows ; 
He does not die, but still remains 
Substantiate with his darling plains. 

(1,600) ^ 


" The spring's superb adventure calls 

His dust athwart the woods to flame ; 

His boundary river's secret falls 

Perpetuate and repeat his name. 

He rides his loud October sky : 
He does not die. He does not die. 

" The beeches know the accustomed head 

Which loved them, and a peopled air 

Beneath their benediction spread 

Comforts the silence everywhere ; 

'For native ghosts return and these 
Perfect the mystery in the trees. 

" So, therefore, though myself be crosst 
The shuddering of that dreadful day 
When friend and fire and home are lost 
And even children drawn away — 

The passer-by shall hear me still , 
A boy that sings on Duncton Hill." 

Full of these thoughts and greatly relieved 
by their metrical expression, I went, through 
the gathering darkness, southward across the 
Downs to my home. 


NUV 18 i^oH 

University of Calltornte -^ 


from Which it was borrowed. 

A 000 560 773 4